Student Voices

Katiria Marie Colon Rivera, Electrical Engineering

My mom cleans houses and stores, and I decided to start working with her when I was 14. In high school, I had two jobs and played violin, but thinking ahead, I just wanted to have a good profession and not have to struggle like my family has. My aunt was a great inspiration for me to pursue an engineering degree in San Diego, where she lives. I moved there from Puerto Rico in 2014 and went to community college and then transferred to UCSB as an electrical engineering student in 2018.

The support here is so good. If I need help from my professors, I can find them. And even though they’re busy with their research, they take the time to meet with you and work through any questions. Everyone here — the undergraduate advisors, professors — when they talk with you, they make sure you understand everything. They want you to be complete in your understanding.

I took astronomy at a community college in San Diego and then started reading astrophysics books, and when I transferred here, I went to every job fair looking for an aerospace company, because my ultimate goal is to be an astronaut. Electrical engineering is a good alternative to aerospace, and I’m currently working remotely for Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, doing MATLAB programming to simulate antennae operation and function on satellites.

I have a goal I want to reach, and I’m on track. I’m planning to get my masters at UCSB if I get accepted and still work for the company while I do it. I met the astronaut José Hernandez here, and he told me I should go for a PhD.

This is the school where I wanted to be since the first time I visited in spring 2017, and I feel like I belong here.