Meet the 2022-23 Cohort of CAHSI
by Andrea Tirres
CAHSI proudly welcomes the new cohort of CAHSI Student Scholars. These outstanding undergraduate and graduate students were selected by a panel of faculty and industry leaders for their accomplishments in the classroom and in the community. Scholars were named at the 2022 Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) conference in Pasadena. The new cohort will be working with CAHSI leadership at the Backbone level and regional level to advance CAHSI’s mission and broaden success among their peers. Google and Reboot Representation generously support this leadership program. We congratulate all our awardees on their hard work and dedication. During the spring semester, scholars will launch their work plans to engage peers on specific topics. Find out how you can connect to CAHSI Student Scholars on our Students page.
Susan Perez Juarez
Susan Perez Juarez is pursuing a BS in Computer Science from the University of Texas at El Paso. She grew up in Juarez, Mexico. Susana is the Vice President of the Coding Interview Club at UTEP, and has participated in many CAHSI opportunities like Google’s Tech Exchange program and the CAHSI Allyship Program. She is a Research Assistant and part of the Applied Intelligence Research Lab at her university that focuses on deep learning projects. She also served as an Instructional Assistant for elementary data structures and algorithms. During the summer of 2022, she completed a software engineering internship at Meta and has also completed two virtual internships at Google as a STEP Intern.
Avery Lee is a computer science student pursuing her master’s degree at New Mexico State University. In the past, she has worked as an outreach assistant for various programs, including Young Women in Computing and AI4ALL. Avery was also selected as a member of the 2021 Google Tech Exchange cohort. She worked as an intern at Microsoft in summer 2022 and currently works as the machine learning specialist for a quasar absorption project in her university’s astronomy department. She is passionate about increasing diversity in tech and encouraging students to be successful in their careers.
Raul Tinajero Olivas
Raul Tinajero Olivas is pursuing a BS in Computer Science at the University of Texas at El Paso and expects to graduate in December 2023. Raul is the first person in his family to attend college in the US. He holds a 4.0 GPA. Raul currently serves as a Research Assistant and on project that involves a machine learning algorithm designed to optimize power grid functionality. Among the many clubs he is active in on campus include ACM-W, IEEE, and the Coding Interview Club. He has also served as President of ACM and Out of Bounds, respectively. Raul was also selected as a Google Tech Scholar.
Renee Catanach is pursuing a BS degree from New Mexico State University with a focus in Artificial Intelligence. She is minoring in Spanish. In 2021 Renee completed an internship at Oakridge National Lab where she assisted researchers with various aspects involving Image Captioning, Visual Question Answering and eXplainable AI. She is active in Young Women in Computing and Girls Make Games. Renee is a former Google Tech Exchange Scholar. As a personal project, she created Rent-A-Date, a satirical dating website which enables users to browse for a companion.
Jennifer Sims is pursuing a Master’s degree in Software Engineering with a concentration in Secure Cyber Systems from the University of Texas at El Paso. She expects to graduate in May 2023. Since July 2020, she has worked as an intern with C5ISR. Jennifer has held several leadership positions, including serving as a CS CyberPatriot Outreach Coordinator as well as a peer leader, research assistant, teacher assistant, president, and founder of the Women in Cyber Security student chapter at her university. She also volunteers with various entities involving youth and STEM, and has presented numerous workshops to her peers.
Kayla Wilson will graduate from New Mexico State University in May 2024 with a BS in Computer Science. She has been very active in the Young Women in Computing club at her university where she has spent significant time offering tutoring services to her peers as well as creating curriculum for summer camp students in grades 5-12. Kayla serves as the student institutional representative for the STEM ALLRISE Alliance and recently participated in the Google Tech Exchange. In 2021 she was named a GMiS scholarship winner.
Eric Landaverde expects to graduate in May 2023 with a BS in Computer Science from Kean University. Since early 2020 he has worked as an IT desktop technician at his university. Eric has been involved in various research projects including one on using sentiment analysis on Twitter data to understand COVID-19 case spikes and another on visualizing 2020 protests in the U.S. He has served as a Kean Student Ambassador, an Explore CS Research speaker, and president of the National Cybersecurity Student Association. His academic projects range from a big data website to a basketball draft simulator program.
“We know that representation in tech will only be achieved through collective action. At Reboot Representation, our goal is to invest in the often overlooked programs that make computing educations and careers in computing more equitable for Black, Latina, and Native American women. Together we will increase the number of Hispanics who pursue and complete baccalaureate computing degrees and lay the groundwork to double the number of Black, Latina, and Native American women graduating with computing degrees by 2025.”
Dwana Franklin-Davis, CEO of Reboot Representation
2021-2022 class of SSLP students
Orlando Marrero Soto
Orlando is pursuing a BS in Software Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez and expects to graduate in December 2023. Orlando is president of the CAHSI student association as his campus and served as an Ally with the CAHSI Allyship Program. For more than two years, Orlando worked as a research assistant on nanotechnology video game research at UPRM. He has also worked as a Software Engineering Intern at L3Harris. Orlando co-founded a pilot program that teaches Python and problem-solving skills to underrepresented high school students. He has participated in several conferences including GMiS and the Caribbean Celebration of Women in Computing where he noted his interest in learning about how he can help promote women in tech and have a deeper understanding of what women experience in this sector.
Montserrat will be graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in English and American Literature. She holds a 4.0 GPA. She is a member of several honor societies including UPE, Phi Kappa Phi, and Alpha Chi. As an Instructional Assistant for the Intro to CS course at her school, she has tutored many students and led multiple review sessions. Montserrat is an active member of ACM-W and an officer with MAES/SHPE. As an inaugural participant in CAHSI’s virtual Research Experience for Undergraduate Program, Montserrat later presented her finding at GMiS 2020. She has completed three software engineering internships with Uber. Montserrat intends to pursue a Master’s degree.
Giancarlo Garcia Deleon
Giancarlo is pursuing his BS in Computer Science at California State University – Stanislaus and expects to graduate in December 2022. Giancarlo is a NSF S-STEM Scholar and works closely with his peers as a CAHSI Advocate. He has worked as a Technical Analyst Cop-op at Cummins, Software Engineer Summer Intern at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and now works as an academic intern for JP Morgan Chase. Giancarlo has worked as a research assistant at the University of California Merced and served as a teaching assistant for the remote mobile android development courses through Codepath.org. Giancarlo has taken home six awards from the many hackathons he has competed in, including #HealthyConversations using Twitter API by Twitter and Best Use of Google Cloud by Google.
Fernando expects to graduate in May 2022 with a BS in Software Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. He is interested in Machine Learning, Image Processing, and Cyber Security. He has been steadily involved in directed research at UPRM and more recently, with Purdue University. Fernando has helped his peers as a Teaching Assistant in the Advanced Programming course. He has participated in various Affinity Research Group workshops – a CAHSI signature practice – from Project Management to Research Methods to Cooperative Learning. Fernando is a member and teacher with the Coding Club at UPRM. He has aspirations of becoming a faculty member in the area of Signals and Image Processing.
Grecia will graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso in May 2022 with a BS in Computer Science. She holds a 4.0 GPA. She is a member of UPE honor society and ACM-W. She is a founding member of the UTEP Coding Club and serves as Vice-President. Last academic year she served as an Ally with the CAHSI Allyship Program which is supported by Reboot Representation. Grecia has completed internships at Microsoft and Northrup Grumman and was also selected as a Google Tech Exchange Scholar. She has worked on various personal projects from writing a script that allows a computer to play a web-based rhythm game by itself to recreating her favorite platformer to advance her game development skills.
2020-2021 class of SSLP students
Ivan Gabriel Jackson-Rivera, UPRM
Ivan attends the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez where he is pursuing a BS in Computer Engineering. He expects to graduate in 2022. Ivan currently serves as a CAHSI Student Advocate and Team Made Student Advisor, a program that provides counseling and activities to over 550 students. He has completed the CAHSI-Google Problem Solving 1 & 2 courses. Ivan has been active in undergraduate research, including research in embedded systems and adversarial learning. More recently, he served as a software developer intern at MCS Healthcare. In the community, he has participated in several beach clean-ups.
Nathan Aun, UTEP
Nathan attends the University of Texas at El Paso and will graduate in Spring 2021 with a BS in Computer Science. He holds a 4.0 GPA. Nathan currently serves as an undergraduate research assistant and as an instructional assistant under the Peer Led Team Learning model. As a member of the ACM-W Women in Computer Science club, he participated in their Empowering the Borderland Conference, an event co-sponsored with CAHSI faculty. He is a member of the UTEP Coding Interview Club which was started by a Googler in Residence. Nathan received the UTEP Presidential Scholarship in 2018 and was a finalist in the El Paso Strong Hackathon sponsored by Microsoft. He achieved Eagle Scout status in 2018.
Jasmin Marie Cornejo, CSU-Stanislaus
Jasmin will graduate next semester from California State University Stanislaus with a BS in Computer Science. As a member of the CSU-Stanislaus Computer science club, she helped coordinate the first hackathon at her campus in spring 2019. Jasmin current serves as event coordinator of the club. She is a McNair Scholar and part of Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) at her university. Her research interests include big data, machine learning, robotics, and AI. In May 2020, she began an internship at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania where she worked on using a Python library to create a graphic user interface for annotating atomic lattices of electron microscopy images.
Danay Fernandez, FIU
Danay is pursuing her Master of Science in CS at Florida International University. She will graduate in May 2022 and holds a 4.0 GPA. Danay is involved in numerous organizations on and off campus. She is a member of Women in Cybersecurity, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, UPE, and AnitaB.org. One of her more recent projects was participating in the COVID-19 Global Hackathon 2.0 where she helped build a website with resources ranging from COVID testing sites, food distribution centers, and entertainment sources such as books and games. She is also active in 48in48 which are coordinated events that bring volunteers together to build websites for nonprofit organizations.
Stephanie Gamboa CSU-Stanislaus
Stephanie will be graduating from California State University Stanislaus with a BS in Computer Science in December 2020. Since July 2019, she has served as a CAHSI Student Advocate. Stephanie is an NSF S-STEM Scholar and a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. She founded the Stan State CAHSI Club in 2019. She also hosted the first Ask a CS Senior event to help encourage surrounding high school students to pursue CS, as well as to help motivate and combat imposter syndrome for current freshman and sophomores.
Vanessa Hernandez, California State University Stanislaus
Vanessa will graduate in December 2020 with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Chemistry. She is a CAHSI NSF-STEM Scholar. Vanessa has served as Vice President and Treasurer of the CAHSI club at her university and has completed the CAHSI-Google Problem Solving 2 course. She is currently participating in a research project that studies patterns and correlations on wine data from wine companies in the region using specific programming languages like Python and R. Her research experiences have involved the Affinity Research Group model – A CAHSI Signature Practice – and have focused on physical chemistry and AI, respectively.
Karelys Lopez-Rivera, UPRM
Karelys is pursuing a BS in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez and will graduate in May 2023. She has served as a CAHSI Student Advocate and as a Peer Led Team Learning leader, and has participated as an Affinity Research Group undergraduate researcher. Karelys has had numerous accomplishments outside of campus. She is a 2020 Grace Hopper Celebration Student Scholar, Google Tech Exchange student, Google Hispanic Student Leadership Summit Attendee. Most recently, she was selected to serve on the AnitaB.org Board of Trustees as a student representative.
Alisson Ross Salazar, MCC
Alisson is a student at Merced College and will graduate in May 2022 with an Associates in Computer Science and Engineering. She is a CAHSI Student Advocate and an ongoing contributor to the Successes Blog at her campus, a blog that contains opportunities for students in CS and STEM. She has served as an English Reader and English Tutor at San Joaquin Delta College. Alisson currently works on front-end development as a HackMerced engineering team member. From July 2018 to May 2019, Alisson served as a STEM Student Mentor at Verizon where she assisted an All-Girls STEM Verizon Summer Camp.
Michael Figueroa, UHD
Michael graduates with a BS in Computer Science from the University of Houston-Downtown in summer 2021. He is involved in research having served as a project leader and undergraduate assistant in the area of Machine Learning. Michael completed an internship with Lockheed Martin and will be returning there as software engineering upon graduation. At his campus, Michael helped reactivate the computer science club. He then took on roles as president and treasurer and helped move the club from 0 paid membership to over 150 memberships in one year. Michael has won various scholarships from such organizations as ACM Richard Tapia, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and SHPE.
Sasha Smith, NMSU
Sasha is pursuing a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University. She expects to graduate in May of 2022. From June 2016 to August 2019, Sasha served as an Instructor for the Young Women in Computing program at NMSU where she taught and helped young women in various programming languages such as Python. She also has served as a Lead Undergraduate Peer Mentor. Sasha is a member of the CAHSI Club and is an NCWIT AspireIT Leader. Her most recent internships experiences have been at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
Catalina Sánchez-Maes, NMSU
Catalina is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at New Mexico State University and expects to graduate in May of 2022. In spring 2020, she was one of 40 students to live in Silicon Valley and study at Google headquarters in a program known as Tech Exchange. This is a program coordinated in conjunction with CAHSI. She is a founder of Future ITGirls, a program that provides an educational experience in CS and ballroom dance to elementary school girls. Her work experience includes internships at Ford Motor Company and Chevron. She has also served as a summer camp assistant for Young Women in Computing at NMSU. She is a CAHSI NSF S-STEM Scholar.
2019-2020 class of SSLP students
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
University of Texas at El Paso
University of Houston Downtown
Pedro Luis Rivera Gomez
University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez
Raul Alejandro Vargas Acosta
University of Texas at El Paso
Wendy Ortiz Contreras
California State University Dominquez Hills
Computer Technology Homeland Security
2018-2019 class of SSLP students
New Mexico State University
Sujeily Fonseca Gonzalez
University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
Angel Uriel Ortega
University of Texas at El Paso
Lianne Sanchez Rodriguez
University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez