Meet Yareni, a Mexican-American Mechanical Engineering PhD student studying at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.
My name is Yareni P. Lara-Rodríguez (Mexican), PhD Student in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.
During my life, I have been inspired by many women. Starting at home, it was my older sister, who was the first one out of my four sisters (and the only one) who went to the university (besides me). She studied Chemical Engineering. When I was 12 years old, I used to love taking her books. I would read them, and I would pretend that I was understanding what I was reading. Our parents influenced her to pursue an academic career. She influenced my decision to choose a career in Engineering.
At the age of 12, I remember my father always encouraged us to pursue our dreams and to prepare ourselves for the difficulties we would encounter. He knew that as women, we may come up against hurdles in our lives and in our careers. My parents always supported our education, and they helped us prepare for whatever life might bring us. They made me believe in myself. With their encouragement, I felt that I could earn a degree in engineering. It was my older sister who proved to me that it was possible.
Years later, I decided to pursue my bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering. I then finished my master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Now, I am in my fourth year of my PhD studies.
My big dream is to become a scientist that can contribute to the bioengineering field and health sciences. I hope to also inspire other women in the field. My current research work includes collagen production under external stimulus. Understanding how biological systems, like protein production, react to external stimuli is important to the health field. My research can help with the development of therapies that can be used to improve people’s lives.
I am passionate about learning more about biology and engineering every day. I am a curious, friendly, proactive, and compassionate person. I am someone who loves science, nature, and music. I am a resilient and hard-working person. I know that my qualities that make me who I am also make me an asset to any engineering team. I know that I can make a difference, and so can you!