Santa Barbara City College mechanical engineering sophomore Ana Isabel Espinoza-Agundis and SBCC alum Juan Zepeda, now a software engineer at Raytheon, were honored recently by Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) for their work in engineering and technology. While Espinoza-Agundis earned accolades from the 2016 Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards (HENAAC) and a $2,000 scholarship, Zepeda was named a Luminary role model by GMiS.
A drive to succeed, marked by a full load of classes at college and a 15-hour-a-week part-time job, characterizes Espinoza-Agundis. Her most important job, however, is taking care of her siblings, she said. She plans to attend UC Berkeley and ultimately be CEO of her own company.
Zepeda is an E-buddy mentor for SBCC students and tutors engineering students regularly. Among the accomplishments he is being recognized for is a foundation startup with other MESA members (Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement) to provide books and supplies in the form of a scholarship, and also for creating a software program, with a Raytheon colleague, for the MESA program’s future. “I did not make the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) journey alone,” Zepeda said. “I had many peers, great mentors, and hard-working parents who have influenced me and motivated me to say ‘Si, se puede!’“
The awards will be presented during the HENAAC Great Minds in STEM™ Conference, October 5-9 in Anaheim.