Graduating senior and BOLD scholar Jacqueline Rodriguez Mora (ChemBioEngr'22) has been recognized by the College of Engineering with the Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) Award. She has acted as a peer mentor for students in BOLD and in the department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. She also served as a leader in the CU Boulder chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and supported the college's celebration of International Women's Day in 2021 by interviewing assistant professor Kayla Sprenger.
What is your major? What interested you in that major?
I am majoring in Chemical and Biological Engineering. I developed an interest in Chemical and Biological Engineering after losing my grandpa to lung cancer. Losing my grandpa to lung cancer inspired me to want to help develop innovative treatments that have the potential to save lives or improve patients’ quality of life. My high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Knight, also served as a mentor and he helped me develop my passion for chemistry.
How were you involved with BOLD? What was that experience like?
I was involved in BOLD as a scholar and as a BOLD peer mentor. I loved being a part of BOLD as it allowed me to help students and build a fostering community in engineering. BOLD allowed me to have opportunities to grow as an engineer and individual. If I hadn’t had the support and advocacy from BOLD, I don’t think I would have stayed in engineering. BOLD allowed me to gain a sense of belonging and allowed me to create initiatives to help future students succeed. The support and compassion from the BOLD staff allowed me to gain confidence as an engineer and helped me achieve my goals.
How does it feel to be recognized for the work that you’ve done?
It feels amazing to be recognized for the work I have done! I am glad to have been able to create initiatives to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering. I still plan to continue my efforts and work on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout my career. I will continue to help advocate for underrepresented students as I want more students to succeed in engineering and have the opportunity to achieve their goals.
What is the most important lesson you learned as an engineering student?
The most important lesson I learned was to be fearless in pursuing my passions and to never give up on myself or my goals.
What was a struggle you went through as an engineering student? What helped you persist?
As a first-generation student, there were many obstacles I encountered throughout my undergraduate journey. At times it was very difficult as most of my peers did not share my struggles and at times, they did not understand them. My biggest struggle was finding a sense of belonging in engineering. I was fortunate enough to find communities like BOLD, that helped me gain a sense of belonging and helped me build confidence in becoming an engineer. I also constantly reminded myself of the reason behind my desire to become an engineer which encouraged me to keep pursuing my goals.
What advice would you give to someone considering engineering?
Your engineering journey may not be like everyone else’s and that is okay. We all will have a unique experience and will face different challenges. Just remember to follow your passions, be fearless, and push yourself to learn and grow.
What’s next for Jacky? (This could be professional, personal, or both, and it can be concrete or more of a goal or dream)
As of right now, I am exploring going into industry or pursuing a PharmD degree. Whichever pathway I take, I hope to work on developing innovative treatments for diseases like cancer while advocating for changes in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. I will continue to advocate for the Latino community and find ways to give back to the community.