Environmental engineering student Priscilla Jimenez was named the fall 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate for Service by the College of Engineering & Applied Science!
Jimenez’s time at CU Boulder was marked by both academic success and selfless service. She volunteers at Casa de Paz and Imagine! in Boulder, helping in a number of roles, from basic chores to supporting the operations of the facilities and fundraising. Casa de Paz serves the needs of immigrant families separated by detention, while Imagine! helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing them with support and other services. She also served as a tutor and mentor for students at the Casa de la Esperanza Learning Center.
She recently became part of Casa de Paz’ visitation group, which visits immigrants who have been detained and would otherwise not have anyone to visit them.
“I met with a man from Honduras, and all I did was listen to him. At the end of our visitation hour, he told me how much he appreciated the volunteers taking their time to go and visit because it gave him a sense of hope,” Jimenez said. “It was so beneficial to me as well because it put things into perspective. From the stories he told me, I instantly knew that he was a hardworking, resilient man. I hope he is given asylum and is given the opportunity to live a good life.”
Jimenez has also volunteered at the BOLD Center, where she helped facilitate events like Girls Explore Engineering. She also volunteered with McNeill Academic Program events, such as the McNeill Freshman Welcome, and helped to foster community within the group. Both programs help to support minority students.
“They have helped me every step of the way, and I owe them so much!” she said. “As an upperclassman, I have had the chance to meet younger students who remind me of myself, and it has given me the opportunity to give them the advice that I needed when I was in their position.
“I have loved every opportunity I was given to volunteer, and I am eternally grateful for the people at the BOLD Center and at the McNeill Academic Program because without their amazing support I think I would be in a very different position today.”
Professor Mark Hernandez nominated Jimenez for the award. He called the Longmont native a “local success story.”
“She is the first in her family to attend college and is adamant about supporting the community where she grew up,” Hernandez said. “Priscilla has consistently practiced selfless values while in our engineering school and is a deserving recipient of this award.”
Jimenez recommends every student find an organization that is important to them and get involved, even if they can only pitch in once every few months.
“I struggle with this but sometimes we get so involved in our own lives and goals that we forget that other people are struggling,” she said. “In these moments, try to slow down and think about how you can make someone else happy.”
Jimenez is looking forward to what’s next after she graduates with her environmental engineering degree, with a minor in engineering management, in December.
“After I graduate I am going to take some time to travel,” she said. “I am currently an intern at Jacobs, so after I travel I will look into getting a job there or go for my master’s.”
One graduating senior from the College of Engineering and Applied Science is recognized each December and May for their devotion to service. Nominations are submitted by faculty.