christalmarieOver this past summer, two women engineering students were awarded the Marie. A. Calderilla Scholarship from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The students are receiving up to $15,000 over the course of three semesters. Christal Nevarez is pursuing Environmental Engineering, and Marie Kyla Perez is studying Computer Science.

Christal (pictured right) is prevalent in our MESA Center and holds a strong presence in our student community. Christal assists with mathematics courses as a Peer Instructional Leader, tutoring and leading Academic Excellence Workshops designed to enhance the learning experience for STEM courses and increase academic engagement and success for concurrent students in calculus as well as accelerated trigonometry and pre-calculus.

Marie (pictured left) is a student assistant for Skyline College’s office of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations (MCPR) where she designs promotional material for campus events and programs as well as help manage Skyline College’s website content. Marie values the merit of accessible education and will continue to be active in enriching her overall education by engaging in community events and programs. This was indicative during this past summer when she participated in SMCCD’s Study Abroad Program where she studied cultural anthropology abroad in Brazil with a focus on the Brazilian roots of hip hop.

Christal and Marie are both quite active in campus community engagement. Serving as President of Skyline College’s Women and Science and Engineering Represent! (WISER!) club, Christal has led workshops and group discussions to empower her fellow female STEM students to have a stronger presence in the classroom. This semester, Marie is preparing to run for Commissioner of Publicity for the Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC).

They both serve as role models for on board female STEM students at Skyline College. They are active members in student driven engineering communities including MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement), and the Engineering and Technology Scholars Learning Community. Through WISER!, Christal is assisting on the development of a middle school mentorship program ‘STEMpals’ with the objective to inspire more young women to achieve their dreams and tackle societal barriers in the pursuit of an engineering future.

The scholarship’s aim is towards helping women in SMCCD advance through college. Up to 15 scholarships are given annually to female students from San Mateo or San Mateo County who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree or certificate and are planning to attend a college in the San Mateo County Community College District. The selection committee looks for academic promise, women who have demonstrated that they are committed to obtaining an education, and personal characteristics such as honestly, good judgement and perseverance. This program was established in 2007 through a generous gift from Marie A. Calderilla who believed deeply in the importance of education.

Marie is thankful for the financial support to ease her family’s financial stresses and is looking forward to more opportunities for growth and success. As a first-generation college student, Christal is thankful for the opportunity of the financial support so that she may pursue her goals in becoming an Environmental Engineer and support her family.

Article by Maryam Khan

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