Meet Luisa Guarco, E23

School: School of Engineering

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Home: Where my parents are—right now, that’s Miami—but Tufts always will be home to me, too.

Why was the School of Engineering the right place for you?

I knew I wanted to do engineering, but it was also important to me to get a liberal arts education. Other schools I visited seemed to be creating engineers who were good at doing math and science, but who didn’t focus as much on the problems they were trying to solve. I thought, “How can I be a good engineer if I don’t even know what I’m trying to solve, or if I can’t figure out what the actual problems are?”

All this deep knowledge in the necessary math and science is great—but it doesn’t give you anything if you don’t know what you’re working toward. Tufts seemed to offer the whole package, and I fell in love with that.

Also, a lot of other engineering schools gave the impression that they didn’t necessarily want their engineers to succeed. At Tufts, the message was, “A lot of engineering is hard, and we know it’s hard, but we want you to succeed.” Everyone’s here to help you.

How did you know engineering was the right field for you in the first place?

I was a slow learner early on, late to reading, late to writing, and I struggled with math. Eventually, I was diagnosed with dyslexia, and I got a lot of help, which was great, but in some ways, it was a scarring experience that pushed me away from the humanities. So, you could say that I ended up in engineering because, unlike with other subjects, no one ever told me I was bad at it!

Looking back over your time on the Hill, what are you proudest of?

With a friend of mine who graduated last year, I co-founded the Mechanical Engineering and Human Factors Engineering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Board. It’s an organization that tries to help students clearly convey to faculty their experiences, what they feel they need, and where they feel they’re being left behind.

For example, this year, a lot of students felt like they were being misgendered by faculty. We suggested to professors that they might ask students to say their pronouns before they give presentations or fill out a survey about pronoun usage at the start of the school year.

We also stepped in when students came to us and said that they didn’t have the resources to do independent projects. That’s challenging, because independent projects are a big part of the engineering experience and a great way to build a portfolio. Now we’re working on setting up a tab in the Nolop FAST Facility [makerspace] so that students who identify as low-income can access funds, do their independent projects, and be on a level playing field with everyone else in terms of the portfolios they’re building.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to Cincinnati, Ohio! I’ve always lived close to the beach, so it might be hard for me, but I’m excited about the program I’m going to do: a two-year rotational program at GE Aerospace, which will allow me to work on commercial planes. It’ll be an adventure!

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