November MSP Spotlight: Stephanie Saldaña
by Alana Asusta
Stephanie Saldaña is a third year civil engineering major from Cleveland, OH! She is one of our Morrill Scholars who answered a few questions about her time so far at The Ohio State University and how the Morrill Scholarship Program has impacted her!
1) Tell me about your journey to becoming a Buckeye. What role did MSP play in that journey? And how has MSP helped you once you arrived on campus
I remember applying to OSU and waiting anxiously every day to get an email or letter regarding my admission status to the university. The day I received my acceptance letter, I remember running into my guidance counselor's office the next day and screaming about how I was going to become a Buckeye! As a first-gen college student, I was so excited to be able to attend a great university like The Ohio State University.
Since stepping onto campus as a freshman, MSP has provided me with a community of amazing individuals and countless resources. One of my most vivid memories I have from the MSP Program comes from being a freshman. My mentor Tushar sat down with me and helped me to switch my major from Architecture to Engineering. He gave me a list of resources as well as some events that would help me transition into my new major. Tushar is only one of the many people that I have met through MSP that have supported me and made me feel at home at OSU. MSP makes this large university feel smaller with everyone that I have had the opportunity to meet.
2) What organizations are you a part of and what makes you so passionate about it?
I'm involved with a few different organizations on campus. This is my first year as a Peer Mentor for the Holistic Well-Being Team for MSP. I have really enjoyed getting to know both my mentees and other mentors as well; it is exciting to be on the flipside of where I was at three years ago when I was a freshman in the program! Outside of MSP, I am the Secretary for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), I am an ambassador for the College of Engineering, a member of a new org on campus called Girls of Outreach and Diversity (GOOD), and I am a Resident Advisor for the Archer-Torres Complex. I personally enjoy being involved with the different communities that I am a part of. What makes me so passionate about the organizations I am involved with are the people I meet along the way and the values that each organization stands for.
3) What is your major and when do you plan on graduating? Why did you choose that major?
I am a Civil Engineering and I am currently on track to graduate in December 2021. I chose Civil Engineering because I wanted to work in a STEM field in which I could create facilities that improve the daily lives of individuals. I originally became interested in engineering when I took a class in high school where I learned how to 3D print and code in MATLAB. Since then, I have really enjoyed learning new software from my classes and professional experiences.
4) What are your plans after graduation?
As of right now, I am looking to attend graduate school (hopefully somewhere warm!) to obtain a Masters in Structural Engineering. In between graduation and graduate school, I want to take a small trip to Spain and walk El Camino de Santiago for two-three weeks. In the future, I see myself working at a structural consulting firm for a while or working as a project manager.
5) Who inspired/inspires you to succeed and why?
My family is the root of everything I do. My mom and dad especially have been such important role models for me in terms of displaying resilience and determination. They support me when I am concerned, remind me of my capabilities when I have doubts, and feed me when I am feeling homesick. Along with them, my brother has always pushed me to pursue an engineering major — whenever I have doubts about what I am doing or where I am going, he is always there to remind me to keep going.
6) If a high school student asked for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
My advice is to take a breath and don't be afraid to reach out for help! College has endless opportunities to meet new people and be a part of new organizations, and it can be extremely overwhelming especially depending on the community that you are coming from. Just know that everyone else is overwhelmed too, so if you need a helping hand, there are plenty of people who are here to help you succeed and get you where you need to be.