From Princeton: Women in STEM – Marisa Salazar

Princeton University
Princeton University

5.14.17

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Marisa Salazar, Class of 2017, chemistry major and co-winner of the Pyne Prize, awarded to the senior who has most clearly manifested excellent scholarship, strength of character and effective leadership. Photo by Briana Christophers, Class of 2017#Princetagram

“Something about my background that is very important to me is that I am a second-generation immigrant.

My grandparents and my dad moved to New Mexico when my dad was a child, and my grandparents worked hard at several jobs in order to provide my father access to opportunities and education.

My father ended up getting a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s in business.

He and my mother prioritized and encouraged a love of education and learning throughout my life.

I grew up in southern New Mexico, a state that is beautiful but consistently underperforms in education. In general, those who didn’t drop out in high school would go to the community college or to the local state university in my hometown.

I was homeschooled, and in that environment I had a quality education where my love of learning was nurtured.

Even so, because so few people in the community left the area to go to college, the thought never entered my mind.

I always expected I would go to the state university where my parents and my siblings had gone because of precedent and because it provided generous scholarships for residents. Considering finances, it did not seem worth moving to attend another university if I would have to take on debt to cover the costs.

However, when I started high school — I went part-time to a public school for a few years — I began to realize that I had more options than I had thought. Teachers at the public school encouraged me to consider alternatives.

In many ways, when applying to these schools my guidance counselor was the internet, because I did not know anyone who had ended up going to an Ivy League (or even to the Northeast), and the entire process was new to me.

I ended up applying to Princeton largely due to its quality education and its financial aid program.” — Marisa Salazar, Class of 2017, chemistry major and co-winner of the Pyne Prize, awarded to the senior who has most clearly manifested excellent scholarship, strength of character and effective leadership. Photo by Briana Christophers, Class of 2017#Princetagram

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Princeton University is a vibrant community of scholarship and learning that stands in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations. Chartered in 1746, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the United States. Princeton is an independent, coeducational, nondenominational institution that provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering.

As a world-renowned research university, Princeton seeks to achieve the highest levels of distinction in the discovery and transmission of knowledge and understanding. At the same time, Princeton is distinctive among research universities in its commitment to undergraduate teaching.

Today, more than 1,100 faculty members instruct approximately 5,200 undergraduate students and 2,600 graduate students. The University’s generous financial aid program ensures that talented students from all economic backgrounds can afford a Princeton education.

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