Serving the School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences

Currently, I serve on the organizing committee for the Graduate Research Development Seminars, which are hosted by University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)'s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (SMSS) each week. Previously, I have served on the UTRGV organizing committee for the 4th Annual Meeting of the SIAM Texas-Louisiana Section and for the 7th Coastal Bend Mathematics and Statistics Conference

I continue outreach as a graduate student by sharing my journey to engineering to local high schools, in collaboration with my research lab, Through all my actions, I seek to improve UTRGV’s capacity to become an emerging research institution.

2023 Mentor for Frontera Hacks

For the inaugural Frontera Hacks hackathon, I served as a mentor facilitating a workshop on how to create an interactive dashboard, which is on my GitHub here

Previously, I have served as a Community Mentor for two cohorts of the Frontera Devs Community Mentorship program, which has served high school and college students in the Rio Grande Valley who are interested in gaining research experience. 

2022-2023 Service as Graduate Senator for Student Government Association

I am a strong believer of community advocacy. I began serving as Graduate Senator for Student Government Association as of Fall 2022 because there has never been a better time to be a part of UTRGV.  I think that my perspective attending UTRGV as an undergraduate and graduate student allows me to be of unique service. I collaborated with other Graduate Senators on initiatives like increasing the travel funds available for graduate students. I also served as secretary of the Financial Affairs committee, which awarded thousands of dollars of funds each semester to students participating at and attending national conferences. 

2022 REUs Around the Nation Workshop 

I had the honor of giving a talk with Ms. Teresa Padron, associated with the C-STEM office at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, about our experiences participating in REUs (research experiences for undergraduates) across the nation. Click here to watch the recording. 

I also have saved the slides associated with the presentation for easy access as a PDF. Click here to access the slides. 

My summer 2022 internship showed me career paths that I wouldn’t imagine for myself on my own. I sought to inform more UTRGV students about these paths by sharing my story through a workshop at the UTRGV Center of Excellence in STEM Education. Ms. Padron invited me to speak again for the Fall 2022 semester, where I gave a talk in collaboration with Dr. Josef Sifuentes on Summer Research Opportunities at National Labs and beyond. Click here to access the slides. Here is the recording also

2021 Gilman Scholar + Alumni

I applied to be a Gilman scholar in October 2020 and was awarded the max scholarship amount. I have shared my experience writing personal statements for the Gilman Scholarship in collaboration with the International Programs & Partnerships office at UTRGV. Watch one of these talks on YouTube. Some of the tips I provide are written below.

Write too much!

Write like a stream of consciousness. Write the story of what you're describing. For my statement of purpose essay, I wrote about 10,000 characters at first. It was too much! I was writing about an experience I had before I enrolled in college Fall 2019. One of those paragraphs I wrote was loaded - describing some of the self-esteem issues I experienced during that time - I even shared my experience with burn out. I felt pretty raw afterwards.

But the next 3 paragraphs I wrote were all about the lessons I learned from that experience - how much I love to show others how to do something they feel is impossible; how much I enjoy diving deeply into a project and learning all I can about it; how I realized the personal power I have in changing my life. I didn't have to include the issues I experienced in the final version. What was valuable were the lessons I learned as a result of that experience... and that's what stayed in my essay.


Make it relevant!

What's going on in 2021? Think about this past year, how it shaped you, how it shaped others. I chose to write about "quarantine hobbies". Almost everyone picked one up. I know I did! So for my introduction to the personal essay, I talked about what mine was - aquarium maintenance. And as I wrote about my fish - as I wrote about something interesting to me - I realized how I could connect that experience with studying abroad. That interest, that excitement, that joy I felt when writing fed the creative part of my brain and made connections I hadn't even realized.

Relevance counts both for current events and for the content of your essay. With my final edit, I realized I needed to write less about my experiences and more about what I wanted to experience, with the help of the Gilman scholarship, and why. So in my case, I talked about London! I asked Dr. Wylie about what the program would be like, and he shared some sights we would see related to Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing. Well - Ada Lovelace is one of the first women we think about when we think about women in STEM. There's a whole day dedicated to her. And even though Alan Turing is celebrated today, he was stigmatized during his career. This is the history that I was most interested in learning about during my trip, so that's what I described in my essay. Of course... my interests are going to be different from yours. And that's why my third tip is...


Take risks - be yourself!

With all the uncertainty in the world, especially nowadays, what do you have to lose? Put your authentic self out there. What are your strengths? Your interests? How is the Gilman scholarship going to change your life? The Gilman scholarship committee wants to know who you are. That's why they're reading it. Your job is to tell them.

I also shared my essay with a friend who knows me really well. She helped me take an objective view of what I was sharing in my essays so I could emphasize the most important parts. This was especially important for the closing paragraph.


Other tips & general advice

I'd say the introduction is the most important part - if you're bored after the first line or two of reading something, what do you tend to do? This is the culture we're living in today. So by the time you catch the committee's attention and share yourself with them, show them a closing paragraph that confirms what they should already be thinking - that you're a perfect candidate for the Gilman scholarship. Be vulnerable. At the end of my essay, I shared how I'm a first-generation college student, that I wish I realized my passion for these studies sooner, and how I realized that I learn from making mistakes. And mention the fish again! Or whatever your version of "fish" is.

These tips apply to all required essays for the Gilman scholarship, not just the personal essay. For example, I write about Alan Turing's chemical castration during my "building mutual understanding" essay and connected it to the intolerance still existing in our world today. If you don't know what people outside of America think of America, ask someone outside of America! I talked to an online friend from my prospective program's country, the United Kingdom, to ask for her perspective.

Regarding the service project essay, think about the programs and places and organizations you're already involved with at UTRGV. Think about how you're already of service to them, and expand on how those acts of service can intersect with your experience with the Gilman scholarship and with studying abroad.

President of SPIE Student Chapter

I serve as the president of the UTRGV student chapter of SPIE, the International Society of Optics and Photonics. Check out our website for more information. I am the webmaster of this website, as well as the host of our university's weekly seminar series. 

We offer $25.00 for student speakers to deliver a talk. If you're interested in presenting your recent work, please contact me at

I coordinate additional events with our faculty advisor, Dr. Zhijun Qiao. 

Vice President of Women in STEM Programs 

I serve as vice president of WISP, Women in STEM Programs. We host weekly virtual "study halls" with task timers and chill tunes and offer an inclusive space for students involved in science at UTRGV. For more information, contact me at