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Engineering grad finds her passion in leadership positions at ASU

Student Alumni marketing director Raquel Lopez Anchia to begin career with Fab Construction Enterprises at Intel Corp. as demolition project manager

Raquel Lopez Anchia

Growing up, she was fascinated by her mechanical engineer father’s career of traveling the world and working on cool projects. The first female engineer in her family, she is graduating this May with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering. Courtesy photo

April 22, 2024

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

Raquel Lopez Anchia, who will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, developed a love for engineering at a young age.

“Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be like my dad,” she says of her father, a mechanical engineer. 

Growing up, she was fascinated by her father’s career of traveling the world and working on cool projects. This laid the foundation for her passion for engineering and would later bring her to become the first female engineer in her family.

“I followed my dad's footsteps, and now I'm here, one step closer to becoming the professional I always saw myself as,” Lopez Anchia says. 

Today, far away from her hometown of San Jose, Costa Rica, she found a home at ASU. While at the university, Lopez Anchia kept herself busy around campus as president of the Medallion Scholarship Program (MSP) and serving as the social media and marketing director of the Student Alumni Association (SAA). 

Throughout her ASU career, she received several scholarships including the New American University Scholarship (Dean's Award), the Medallion Scholarship, the Industrial Engineering Hall of Honor Scholarship, the W.L. Gore Undergraduate Scholarship, the James & Petra Bailey Scholarship and the John A. & Helen R. Butler Scholarship.

“I am incredibly grateful for all the wonderful people who have invested in me to complete my degree and who have helped me make my dream of becoming an engineer a reality,” Lopez Anchia says. 

After graduation, Lopez Anchia will begin her engineering career with Fab Construction Enterprises at Intel Corp. as the demolition project manager. She will help build Intel's new factory locally, in Ocotillo.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: While at ASU I was able to find what I love to do. Holding leadership positions in student organizations and meeting so many new people, I found that leadership is not only something I enjoy, but it is also my passion — which I would have never found out otherwise. Believe it or not, I used to be very shy and even insecure about sharing my ideas in fear people would think they were dumb.

Coming to ASU, I learned that no idea is ever dumb and that great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. I became more secure and continued to learn throughout my classes and my leadership positions in student organizations until I became who I am today. I now hold a president position within MSP, a marketing director position with SAA and a project manager position at Intel Corp. All of this was only possible thanks to ASU opening the door to so many wonderful opportunities for me.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because since the first time I stepped foot on campus it felt like home. That really meant a lot to me as my home was all the way back in Costa Rica. I found that ASU not only had the program I wanted to study, but it also gave me the opportunity to explore so many awesome clubs and different organizations. Being a Sun Devil was also a dream as I grew up going to championship swim meets at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU? 

A: Daniel McCarville is the professor who truly changed the course of my career. McCarville is one of the most passionate people I had the chance to meet and learn from at ASU. He was an industry professional for years, and he brought so much knowledge from his industry years to every lecture. McCarville not only taught us what real industrial engineers did, but he taught us how to go above and beyond in our professional career. McCarville taught my two favorite courses I took during my time at ASU, project management, and work analysis and design. Both of these courses were hands-on, covered a lot of content and required us to step back and look at the bigger picture to solve problems.

McCarville did a fantastic job of opening our eyes and minds to the world of industrial engineering and how to solve real-life issues. He also was one of the professors who opened his door for students to get help building their resumes and interview help. Thanks to McCarville, I was able to see how much potential I had to succeed in a leadership field that required me to develop technical and soft skills. I take all of these skills and knowledge with me into the industry where I hope to perform as efficiently and successfully as he taught us.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Enjoy every moment no matter how great or how difficult. Everyone always says that college goes by too fast, and I never believed it until now. Being so close to graduation made me realize that I will be missing every second I spent on campus the last four years. So my advice is to really enjoy every all-nighter, every coffee cup, every pass, every fail, every game, every party, every new person you meet, every milestone you hit, every cry, smile and laugh. Enjoy it and cherish it! 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I love the Tempe campus, and picking one favorite spot would be impossible — but a few of my favorites include Old Main, where I spent a lot of time planning and working with MSP and SAA; Brickyard, where I spent a lot of time studying and getting food from FOCH Café; the CAVC, where both of my favorite classes were taught; and lastly, Cafetal Café, where my friends and I got coffee weekly!

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would invest it in ways to clean our oceans and help with pollution levels. Coming from a country like Costa Rica, I value the environment a lot, and I think with the right resources we could really make a change for our planet.

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