Passion for manufacturing, operations and design drives Yessica Jimenez to conquer dreams
Yessica Jimenez is not familiar with the confines of limitations. She is the epitome of a trailblazer leading the charge among demographics as diverse as her background. Yessica represents everyone who has a dream, makes a wish and devours opportunities. Her illustrious story is an ever-developing journey that continues to get better, bigger and more impressive as it progresses.
When Yessica arrived in the United States six years ago, she had a dream. Her dream was to learn English, get an education and help her family in Colombia. Her positive spirit and inquisitive mind are accompanied by the daily affirmations of perseverance, “It has been a long journey that included cleaning dishes, selling ice cream, selling shoes, and more. I never give up. Every day I was thinking about reaching my goals, making my dream come true. I am the first person in my family to speak another language and pursue a degree in another country.”
The native of Cali, Colombia came to the United States in 2015. “My mom decided to come to the U.S. with dreams of better opportunities. I was 23 years old, and neither of us could speak English.” Strapped with the pressures of learning a foreign language and adapting to a new culture deemed surmountable. Yessica decided to enroll at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and earned her degree in operation engineering in applied science. She was the first female in the history of the institution to graduate from the operation engineering program.
When she was 19 years old, Yessica had the opportunity to study mold design for transformation of materials. The experience was the unofficial start of her journey to becoming a materials science engineer.
“Since that time, my passion for polymers started to grow to include manufacturing, operations and design. I worked for three different companies where I designed molds, managed projects and was a quality engineer. After 10 years, the collection of experiences confirmed what I was meant to be – a materials science engineer.”
That led her to Ohio State where she is in her second year of the materials science and engineering undergraduate program. Ms. Jimenez was recently named a scholarship recipient by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, “the nation’s leading Hispanic scholarship organization”1. Yessica was familiar with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) from her days with the Hispanic Counsel at Cuyahoga Community College. One of her friends was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from HSF and encouraged Yessica to apply, “I knew that this scholarship could change lives, and I wanted to be one of them”. She is grateful for the support of Professor Elvin Beach, who provided a recommendation and continues to support her journey to become a materials science engineer.
A virtual ceremony was hosted in August by HSF to honor those who were named scholarship recipients. The virtual audience included Latinos from around the country, from all types of schools. Those who had been awarded in the past shared personal stories of inspiration and acknowledged the impact of the scholarship on their lives.
Yessica embodies the mission of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund by empowering herself with opportunities. Now the Buckeye stars in her own inspiring story that is constantly unfolding as her dreams become reality. “What makes me proud the most about the fact that I am Colombian is how strong and resilient we can be. I want to change the history of my family. Being the first one is always the hardest job, but it is not impossible.” And when it comes to the topic of diversity in STEM fields, Yessica aspires to use her story as a platform to talk to Hispanic girls about the incredible opportunities in STEM and the need for more representation of Latino women in STEM careers. “I would help them realize their strengths by reminding them that we are bilingual; we are hard-working; we are chasing our dreams. I will tell them that every day is a new opportunity to start again and do better than before. The sky is not the limit anymore. I would tell them that there are no limits. Just keep going!"
Yessica continues to use every opportunity to explore the broad concepts and applications of materials science and engineering while imagining its affect on the future, “It is a privilege to understand the capacity, utility and potential transformational benefits of materials. Aerospace, automobile, medical, energy – all these amazing industries are waiting on innovations, and I want to be first in line to contribute on behalf of materials science and engineering. That is my dream!”.
The future for Yessica Jimenez illuminates a bounty of career opportunities. “As a career, I plan to work for an automobile or aerospace company. Heavy industry is my passion- being in the machines, helping in the labs, working on new projects. I want to be able to do everything from designing the mold, to designing the part, to choosing the material, to innovating. I love being involved and having my voice be heard.”
Her dream does not include a graduate degree in MSE, but she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of exploring other programs to complement her already impressive resume, “For the moment I have no interest in pursuing a graduate degree. I am already 29 years old with more than five years’ experience in industry. I want to do a minor in nuclear engineering, but that is as far as I will go for now. I would love to be able to do an internship in Brazil, China, Japan, Germany, or anywhere in the world that will help me accomplish my goals.”
Yessica works at Nanotech West as a Student Research Assistant. Her role is to verify that each of the lab stations has all the chemicals and implements necessary to run the experiment. The opportunity has also enabled her to be trained in photolithography, which is a process of taking photos of objects using a microscope. "Such opaque objects as metal and stone may be ground smooth and etched chemically to show their structure. They are then photographed by reflected light using a metallurgical microscope", explains Jimenez.
Her professional portfolio is in alignment with her major, too. Yessica has been a quality manager for Mantaline Corporation since 2018. She manages the team responsible for making sure each part meets the standard required for the end use - an automobile. "We are just a small part of the big process. We use Bytewise (360 laser), Flash 200 (precise optical machine) and PLV (measurement equipment for profiles)." Much like the parts whose purpose is to build a sound automobile, each small moment in Yessica's story lends itself to a dream come true.
She will graduate with her B.S. in materials science and engineering in spring 2023.
Libby Culley | Communications, Department of Materials Science and Engineering | email@example.com
1 2009, June. https://twitter.com/HSFNews. Retrieved August 27, 2021.