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Engineering graduate helps others overcome obstacles

May 18, 2009

Only eight years ago, the odds seemed against Guadalupe Ramirez being a university graduate in 2009 – particularly one with sufficient achievements to pursue a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.

Ramirez spoke only Spanish when she came to Somerton, Ariz., from her native Mexico in 2001. The language barrier dropped her a year behind during high school.

But eventually, she earned a college scholarship and graduated with distinction from Arizona Western community college in 2004.

Then came enrollment in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, where she excelled not only in her studies but also outside the classroom.

She joined ASU’s chapter of Women in Science and Engineering and became vice president of its robotics team, which won a regional event and competed in international robotics events.

“I was grateful to have found such a club at ASU where I could apply things I learned in class to real-life situations,” she says.

Ramirez also has made time to help others discover the opportunities she found at ASU.

She works as a mentoring program coordinator at the Motivated Engineering Transfer Students Center, which works to recruit and retain engineering students – especially women and others from groups underrepresented in the engineering profession.

“It helps community college transfer students, like myself, to have a smooth transition to ASU,” she says.

In 2008, Ramirez was as a presenter in the ASU Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program Conference, a university student endeavor to raise education and career aspirations among Hispanic women.

Beyond her own education, she says the chance to help others overcome obstacles and go to college “made being at ASU one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

Writer: Matt Evans