A degree can enhance cultural awareness and community involvement
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Robin is a graduate of Rufus King MPS high school. Robin is proud of her family and heritage. Robin’s grandmother came from Mexico where many of her relatives still live. Robin’s mom has always held engineers in high regard, so when Robin was little her mom encouraged her to pursue her interests in science and engineering. Robin remembers summers spent at science camps in Madison and Milwaukee.
It would be an understatement to say that Robin leads an active life. She belongs to Max Lagally’s research group where she works on an independent project studying the effects of membrane thickness and Si:Ge ratio on defect concentrations in Si:Ge membranes. She also pursues a minor in Chicano/Chicana studies that encourages her to spend time with Latino community through volunteering, which she really enjoys. Robin has given back to the local community through the Schools of HOPE tutoring program, College of Engineering Diversity Affairs Outreach Program, and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). With SHPE Robin visits high schools to tell students what it’s like being Latina and an engineer at Wisconsin. She tells them of summer programs that can help them be competitive. In the Spring of 2013 Robin organized her own Engineering Expo demonstration introducing visitors to the properties of thixotropic fluids.
One of Robin’s favorite department courses was Professor Kou’s, MSE 332, Macroprocessing. Robin also took the ME 418 Polymers course, taught by Professor Osswald, whom she says is a great lecturer. Through internships with GE Healthcare and P&G Robin decided designing consumer products is the career for her, so she chose polymers for her emphasis area. She looks forward to taking Professor Gopalan’s MSE 421, Polymeric materials. Robin has enjoyed classes in art history, glass blowing, and art metals. As part of a classics class Robin studied four weeks in Rome.
If asked how it is to be a Latina woman, a double minority, in a Midwestern Engineering department, Robin will admit that it is sometimes hard. Anyone who experiences it can tell you: "being the only woman or only person of color in classes that are predominantly white and male can be a little daunting." But Robin possesses an indomitable spirit and receives support from staff and other students, so she feels she is able to pursue her dreams. The underrepresented students of color community at UW is small and close-knit, so she gets to know her peers well, many of them outside her major, and she receives broad support and a broad perspective of how the university works.
Robin plans on graduating in the Spring of 2014 with a BS in Materials Science and Engineering emphasizing in Polymers, along with a minor in Chicano/Chicana Studies.