Emily Arana Recognized as Latinx Driven to Shape the Future of Technology

Emily Arana
Emily Arana (Rishi Donapati/UC Davis)

Emily Arana, a fourth-year student majoring in biomedical engineering at the University of California, Davis, is one of 28 students selected for the Cadence Diversity in Tech Scholarship from over 300 submissions. Arana received Cadence Diversity's Latinx Students in Technology scholarship, recognizing her leadership skills, accomplishments, professor endorsement and drive to shape the world of technology. 

"I was shocked," Arana shared, recalling when she discovered her award. "I was genuinely surprised when I opened my email and saw the congratulations." 

Though she was just recognized for her ambition, Arana remembers her first couple of months at UC Davis as challenging.  

"Being one of the first in my family to go to college and attempting to get an engineering degree, I always battled with feeling 'not good enough,'" she shared.  

When she was applying for colleges, Arana chose to study at UC Davis because she hoped it would provide her the guidance she needed. The Leadership in Engineering Advancement, Diversity and Retention (LEADR) Program was one of the major sources of support she received. 

"Shortly after accepting admission," she recalled, "I was enrolled in the LEADR program and summer bridge program, which helped me to find a community on campus that was concerned with my success." 

The LEADR program supports historically underrepresented groups in engineering, including first-generation students like Arana, by providing opportunities like the summer bridge program to connect students with all the resources available to them at UC Davis. It also includes participation in skill development workshops and meetings with LEADR staff, upper division engineering students and professional engineers. 

Arana has taken part in many programs on the UC Davis campus, including: Engineering Ambassadors, University Honors Program, Joan Viteri Memorial Clinic, Society of Women Engineers and B Hours Engineering

Arana identified the College of Engineering Dean's Distinguished Speaker events as an additional source of inspiration.  

"I admire how keynote speakers come from diverse backgrounds, especially Dr. Theresa Maldonado," Arana shared. "It was awesome to see a Latina in engineering with such a profound and successful career." 

Arana plans to pursue a master's degree in biomedical engineering and has applied to multiple programs that specialize in microfluidics and tissue engineering.  

"It's been a bit daunting to consider graduating and entering into the world as a professional," she said. 

Arana's educational aspirations continue long after graduation, with plans to attend medical school and merge her engineering and medical knowledge. Her goal is to become a physician and have a research lab of her own where she can study pathological processes.  

It might be daunting to leave undergraduate studies behind, but Arana is ready to use her education where she can make a difference.  

"I'm really looking forward to actually utilizing my engineering skills to innovate medical technologies in the workplace and help people," Arana said.  

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