Karla Del Cid-Ledezma





Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering
Class of 2018

Hometown: Rio Rancho, NM

Research/Work Experience: I have been an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Radiation Surface Science and Engineering lab since the spring semester of my freshman year, and an Accounting Intern at Atrisco Heritage Foundation since 2012.

Other campus activities: I am a part of the choir at the Newman Center on Campus. I also TA a couple of NPRE courses during the school year.

Why did you join EA? I joined EA because I wanted to be able to reach out to younger students and show them that being an engineer isn't just about math and science. It's about creativity and learning and it can help people. I also chose EA because I wanted to become a more confident leader. Joining EA, I have become someone who is more confident in speaking up and presenting in front of my peers.

What’s your favorite part of being an engineering student? My favorite part of being an engineering student is learning. I really love learning new materials and new ways to solve a problem. I was lucky to get into research as a freshman because it exposed me to the different, innovative ways of solving a problem. I really love learning, not a huge fan of exams though...

What made you come to the University of Illinois? I chose Illinois because it wasn't just one of the top Engineering programs in the world but mostly because I felt that it would open the door for so many unique opportunities I wouldn't have had back home. Honestly, I also chose Illinois because I just wanted to get out of the desert! As much as I love New Mexico... I missed the grass and getting actual snow! :)

What has been your best experience at Illinois? One of the best experiences I've had at Illinois is helping build a fusion device for my research group. It was really fun and interesting building the device over a long time and finally able to see the device on and start running experiments on it.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a STEM degree? My advice would be: don't give up. There are gonna be days when it feels like everything is against you. Days when you receive and exam and didn't get anywhere near to the grade you studied for and it's going to be okay. Talk to your professors and study with friends for the next exam. Learn from your mistakes but don't get discouraged because in the end you'll be able to do amazing things. Don't give up!

What do you plan on doing after graduation? Currently, I am looking to applying for graduate school and going for my PhD. I am also interested in looking for a job in the industry after graduation if I don't pursue graduate school.