Elisa Ramirez

Class of 2017
Industrial engineering & operations research; minor in mechanical engineering

 When did you know that you wanted to become an engineer?
It all started in middle school, when my counselor and mentor suggested I look into engineering because I was good at math and science. I always enjoyed problem solving, so engineering seemed like the way to go. Once I got into high school, I began looking into specific fields. I decided to focus on industrial engineering because it seemed like the best way to combine both my problem solving and people skills. 
Why did you choose Berkeley Engineering?
Elisa RamirezElisa Ramirez (Photo by Preston Davis)When researching universities in high school, I knew I wanted to go to a school that would not only challenge me, but that was also affordable and close to home. Berkeley Engineering is hands-down one of the top schools in the field. I was accepted as a Regents and Chancellors Scholar, so I knew that I could financially afford going to college. When I visited Berkeley during Senior Weekend, I immediately fell in love with the campus. I also had the privilege of meeting the Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion, Professor Oscar Dubon, and after chatting with him about the endless opportunities Berkeley had to offer, I knew I had to attend Berkeley. I not only felt welcomed, but I already felt part of the wonderful community. Family was also a determining factor, because as a first generation college student, I grew up very close to my family, and I was not prepared to move far away.
What do you like most about Berkeley Engineering?
I’m grateful and blessed to have been given the opportunity to study engineering at Berkeley because I am constantly learning new things, and most importantly, applying what I learn to real world problems. I’ve had the privilege of building close relationships with faculty and working alongside some of the brightest students across the country. Ultimately, I know that everyone at Berkeley Engineering will go out and do great things: making this world a better place for future generations.            
What else do you do outside of class?
I am involved in extracurricular activities. Currently, I am the vice president of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and a student representative within the College of Engineering committees. I also enjoy mentoring younger engineering students on ways to get involved within campus and provide resources for them. Besides school, I enjoy going out with my best friend, Carlos, in order to explore the city, eat Korean BBQ and go to the movies.
Who has been your most influential role model?
Without a doubt, my role model has been my father. At the age of five, my father worked in Mexico selling oranges and bread on the street. Even though he wanted to stay in school, he was only able to finish sixth grade because he realized that he needed to help support his younger siblings. At a young age, my dad understood that life was not going to be easy for him, especially because nothing was ever going to be handed to him. Despite the adversity he faced, my father continued to learn from others and asked for help. After a lot of hard work, he managed to pay for his own 18-wheeler truck and ultimately own a small business. I admire my father for the sacrifices he made during his childhood, and the sacrifices he continues to make for me. Without a doubt, I would not be at Berkeley if it weren’t for his support and unconditional love. To this day, I follow my father’s example because I know that whatever I set my mind to, I can accomplish it — because he did it. 
What are your future plans?
I’ve accepted an internship offer from General Motors to be a manufacturing engineering intern for the summer of 2016. I will be in Michigan, working alongside engineers at a manufacturing vehicle assembly facility to improve workflow, identify areas for improvement and lead bottleneck reduction projects. In the future, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in industrial engineering. I would ultimately like to work at a car company in order to increase efficiency within the manufacturing facilities and reduce costs.

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