Xitlalit Sanchez-Martinez

You are Never Underqualified

As a first generation student of color, STEM and more specifically engineering never felt like an inclusive or welcoming field to me. While no one had ever told me I couldn’t do it, I didn’t have any examples to live up to. It was super daunting having to navigate all of the opportunities and undergraduate requirements on my own. I was intimidated by the lack of representation and my own personal lack of STEM experience. So I knew that I had to be my own role model, and become someone other students like me could look up to. My biggest piece of advice for students considering any STEM field, is to always take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. You are never underqualified, if you do not meet all the requirements listed on any application, apply anyway. You never know what could happen unless you try.

Keeping Reaching for the Stars

Growing up in a small farming town I could have never imagined ever working with NASA. I have always loved space and space travel but I never believed that the experiences and opportunities I had done during my undergraduate career, were enough to get me a spot at NASA. I applied to NASA for the first time during my freshman year of college. I never heard back from the organization, but I noticed that my application was still saved. So, I went back in and added my new experiences and updated my interests. This continued throughout my undergraduate career, I would periodically check in on my application and make small changes. After four years of no response, I decided to update my application for the last time the summer before my 5th and final year as a UW undergrad. It was through this final time that I was selected for an interview for an intern position at the NASA Johnson Space Center. My biggest piece of advice for students thinking of applying for any competitive or elusive position, is to never stop trying. Perseverance is needed to “dare mighty things”.

Tags:
Academics – Materials Science Engineering / Class of 2021
Interests –  Tech, Data, Gaming / Physical & Life Sciences
Identities – she/her, Student of Color, First Generation Student