degree closer for Latina
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 21, 2005
PHOENIX - Monica Telles will
graduate from South Mountain Community College this May and then enroll at
Arizona State University to continue work on her computer engineering degree.
It's an achievement she once thought beyond her reach.
But a chance encounter with a computer class at North High School changed that,
sending her on a path that community college officials hope others girls take.
"In high school, my interest in computers grew, and I gradually began to think
about college," she said
There were some setbacks, but
eventually she enrolled at SMCC, a school that recently has pushed engineering
and especially women in engineering to the forefront. Last summer she was among
30 Hispanic college students nationwide chosen for NASA's Space Flight Life
Sciences Training Program at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Telles' success is inspiring Latina engineering students on other campuses to
seek her guidance, and she enjoys being able to influence them. She also speaks
to younger girls at grade schools.
Earlier this month, South Mountain held Hermanas: Deseņa tú futuro/Design your
Future, a weekend workshop on Latina career opportunities. Its aim was to
increase the number of underrepresented female students choosing to go to
college and encourage those in grades 6-12 to consider education and careers in
engineering and science.
"A lot of young Latinas don't have goals," she said. "I found that's the only
thing that keeps you going. Without goals, you have no in- spiration."