For environmental engineering major Selena Hinojos, graduating from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is more than just a personal accomplishment.
“This represents the accomplishments of my parents and supporters along my journey,” she said. “Being a first-generation student, it was my personal duty to do everything my parents never had the chance to do.”
Hinojos paid forward that support many times over in service to her fellow students during her time at CU Boulder, earning her a College of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Undergraduate for Service award for spring 2020.
“It was an honor to be chosen as an Outstanding Graduate for Service,” she said. “This award symbolizes the collective time and energy I put into my passions, but overall this award symbolizes the various experiences and opportunities that I am grateful to have been a part of.”
During her time at CU, Hinojos served as a GoldShirt Scholar, supporting the academic success of younger engineering students. As a mentor and Academic Lead Mentor with GoldShirt, she helped welcome and support two new classes of GoldShirt Scholars through their Summer Bridge Program and first academic year. She was also a resident advisor in Aden Hall and the Engineering Quad Living & Learning Community, where GoldShirt scholars and CU Engineering students reside.
Hinojos also worked as an Engineering Ambassador and was involved with the Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
“The greatest lesson I learned from my time at CU Boulder is that it doesn't matter what background and experience you have coming into a situation. It is about the grit and passion you have to finish and be better and do better,” she said.
To get the most out of college, Hinojos encourages all students to take a step outside of their comfort zones.
“Based on what I now know, the best piece of advice for other students is to be comfortable with uncomfortable situations, as these experiences allow for the most self-growth and success in your personal and academic life,” she said.
Following graduation, Hinojos will attend Penn State University to pursue a PhD in civil engineering with a water resource focus. To support her studies, she earned Penn State’s Bunton-Waller Assistantship and the Robert W. Graham Endowed Graduate Fellowship.
She got a taste of being a researcher during undergraduate research experiences in Assistant Professor Sherri Cook’s research lab and the Urban Water Innovation Network at CSU.
“I will be investigating the ethical implications of connected critical infrastructure in the food-energy-water nexus,” she said. “From there, I hope to further immerse myself in research centered around climate change and creating a sustainable future.”