Hi!! I’m Cinthia Sanchez a current senior at USC majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering and minoring in Law and Migration Studies. While that sounds like a whole tongue twister, that is something I love about USC and, in particular, Viterbi. Ever since I heard about Viterbi, what drew me the most was the idea of Engineering+. This idea has allowed me to think of myself beyond being an engineer.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of why I love Viterbi and USC, let’s travel a bit back. I grew up in the LA area, so I was familiar with the two major schools here in LA, one of it being USC and the other school which shall not be named. USC, in many ways, had always been part of my life; many of my high school teachers and even my principal were USC alumni. I never thought that in the future, I was going to be a student at such a fantastic campus, so when I received my acceptance letter, I was elated and overjoyed with emotions.
It was all exciting starting at USC. However, it was a difficult time. First, COVID was still going on, so my first year was online, and the rigor of classes was overwhelming to me. Being the first one in my family to go to college, it was hard to communicate the struggle I was facing in great detail. During this time, I looked for ways to be involved, and luckily I was able to work in a lab through the CURVE program that opened my doors into the world of research. The following year was when I faced the real transitions of college, it was again an exciting time and in-person!! But sitting in my first class, I was overwhelmed with imposter syndrome, “Do I truly belong here?” was a question that lingered in the back of my mind. Although it took me a long time to learn that I did belong at USC, there were moments of doubt and isolation.
Thankfully there are so many students, professors/staff, groups/programs that supported me not only as a first-generation student but as a Latina in engineering and an undocumented student. I found an extensive community through the Latino Alumni Association, Women in Engineering, and the Academy for Polymathic Studies. I intermingled with all types of people here at USC, making my experience unique and truly mine. Now, in my senior year, I can look back at how much USC made me grow not only as a student but as a person, and I’m excited to be and continue to be part of the USC community.