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Bridgette Valencia, Class of '12

Bachelor of Science in Engineering-Mechatronics
Ridgewood, New York

From the first time she saw a Vaughn College advertisement while in high school, Bridgette Valencia knew the College was meant to be a part of her future. "I was on the train," she recalled. "I saw an ad that read 'Who's going to be the next person to go to Mars?' "

That advertisement was the first step in her journey to studying mechatronics at Vaughn. "I didn't bother applying to other schools," Valencia said. "After a discussion with an admissions counselor, I was convinced that studying mechatronics here would help me reach my goal of working for NASA."

Vaughn's mechatronics curriculum proved to be challenging from the start. But through determination and ambition, and a little help from Vaughn's faculty, Valencia excelled in the traditionally male-dominated major. According to Valencia: "The guys were the ones always answering the questions. But one day, I understood perfectly what the professor was asking. For once, I was the first to answer a question correctly. And it kept getting better from there."

Valencia kept busy as 2011-2012 vice president of Vaughn's chapter of Women in Aviation. She says membership in the organization helped her develop the skills necessary to be attractive to employers. "I was able to develop great leadership and communication skills that helped me get internship offers," Valencia said.

She received two internship offers after participating in a conference hosted by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She also accepted a summer 2012 internship with Cummins Inc. in Columbus, Ind. in mechatronics engineering.

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