Galilea Garcia, a 3rd year environmental Engineering major, decided she wanted to be an engineer because of her love for math and sciences. Because of her Walton EMC Scholarship, she can pursue her dream of developing innovative solutions to help others.
Why did you choose UGA?
I chose UGA because ever since I first visited campus, I felt like it was my home away from home. UGA also provided lots of experiential learning opportunities that I have been able to get involved in. Coming from a small hometown, I also wanted to experience a large school atmosphere with lots of school spirit.
How did you choose Engineering?
I decided I wanted to be an engineer because of my love for hard sciences and math. Engineering allows me to combine this with my creative side in order to aid in developing innovative solutions to help others.
“Coming from a small hometown, I also wanted to experience a large school atmosphere with lots of school spirit.”
What has been the most surprising thing about college?
The most surprising thing about college has been the overwhelming support I have received from different groups here such as the Division of Academic Enhancement (tutoring, academic coaching), Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (conference opportunities, professional development workshops), and the Office of Experiential Learning (study abroad scholarships). I am always reminded that there are people in my corner cheering me on to keep going in my educational career and willing to lend a helping hand when I need it.
What has been the hardest thing about college?
For me the hardest thing about college has been experiencing “breakaway guilt.” Breakaway guilt entails feeling as if you’re leaving your family behind and breaking traditional family roles. I have found that it’s common for first-generation college students to experience this. What I try to do is remind myself of all the reasons why I’m here and why it’s important that I’m here. Someone always has to be the first to do something, and in my family I was the first to take the step of pursing higher education.
What is your favorite thing about Engineering at UGA?
My favorite thing about Engineering at UGA is that the college has taken an innovative approach to teaching engineering. We are not being taught to be traditional engineers, but rather to be well-rounded engineers who take into account many more perspectives when developing solutions.
How has it impacted your studies?
My scholarship has impacted my studies by providing me with some sense of financial freedom. Because of my scholarship I don’t have to take time away from my studies or extracurricular activities to work a job to pay for my studies or living expenses. I am continually able to invest in myself, whether its having time to study, go to office hours, or attend an extra lecture series or professional development workshops This has allowed me to continue to grow as a student and put me on the right path to develop as a professional in the future.
“If I could say one thing to private scholarship donors I would just say… thank you so much for your support.”
How has being the recipient of a private scholarship shaped your view of philanthropy?
I grew up in a household where I was taught to always be of service to others and to always give back to my community, simply because there were always going to be people less fortunate than myself. Being a scholarship recipient has only strengthened my view of philanthropy. The amount of change and motivation this award has brought to me is enough for me to know I want to be able to give this same support to someone else in the future.
If you could say one thing to private scholarship donors, what would it be?
If I could say one thing to private scholarship donors I would just say… thank you so much for your support. I want you to know that for most recipients it’s really not just about the money. Your generosity lets us know that there are people out there that support us and our aspirations, and it’s very encouraging to know that someone is willing to invest in us and our visions.
What are your plans after you graduate, and what legacy do you hope to leave at UGA after graduation?
My plans after graduation consist of attending graduate school (I am still deciding what program I would like to pursue) and volunteering in the Peace Corps. The past two academic years I have increased my participation in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. The organization is still fairly young on our campus. What I hope to leave behind for others, with the help of the rest of the SHPE leadership team, is a strong foundation for this student organization. I want this to be an organization where all minority students can find a community, a group of friends, help with courses, help developing themselves professionally, networking opportunities, recruitment opportunities, and so much more – overall, a stronger community and support system for Latina Engineering students at UGA.