Eva Nance is a junior in Texas ECE focusing on Computer Architecture and Embedded Systems. She serves as a mentor in the Texas ECE Partners program, and she was awarded a Texas Exes Laredo Chapter Scholarship and a 2020 Hispanic Heritage Youth Award. She is also a research assistant in the Integrated Nano Computing Lab. We sat down with Eva to learn more about her student experience in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
HOW DID YOU END UP AT UT? WHAT PATH LED YOU HERE?
I’m originally from Laredo, Texas. I chose to attend UT Austin because the school’s engineering program is fantastic, I wanted to be close to my sisters who live here, and the city has so much to offer. I’ve enjoyed participating in STEM extracurriculars ever since I was little, and my interest in ECE specifically was sparked by my first coding class and deepened through my involvement in robotics.
WHO HAS BEEN A MAJOR INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE?
My parents and sisters have made the most positive impacts on my life. My parents have always encouraged me to be curious about the world around me and to try to engineer creative solutions for my problems, whether academic or personal. They’ve given me opportunities that they didn’t have and have supported me in every possible way my entire life. My sisters have supported me emotionally through the ups and downs of college, and I can always count on them to be there for me in good times and bad.
IF YOU COULD PROVIDE ONE POSITIVE MEMORY OF YOUR TIME AT UT SO FAR THAT STANDS OUT, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
One particularly positive memory of my time at UT was at the ECE NEXT summer research experience poster show. I stood in front of the poster that I designed, and I presented the research that I worked on with my mentor over the summer in the Integrated Nano Computing (INC) Lab. It was the culmination of my summer’s work, and I was just really proud of myself!
I love being able to share new ideas with others, so I really enjoyed explaining and answering questions about my research.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS?
Honestly, I’m still figuring that out! Originally, I planned on getting a master’s degree after my undergrad for the sole purpose of having more industry career mobility. However, this past summer I participated in the ECE Next Program, where I worked on a PhD-level research project, and now I’m interested in research and possibly working toward a PhD! Still, sometimes the stress of being a student makes me want to just get my degree and run far away from academia. By trying different things, I trust I'll figure it out eventually.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR THE UNIVERSITY TO HAVE A DIVERSE COMMUNITY?
It’s crucial for the university to have a diverse community because diversity begets creativity, innovation, understanding, and appreciation.
People from different backgrounds have distinct knowledge and perspectives, so bringing them together creates an environment that fosters both academic and societal progress. As someone from Laredo (one of the least ethnically diverse cities in the country), I’ve learned and grown so much from moving to such a diverse place.
WHAT DOES HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH MEAN TO YOU?
Hispanic heritage month means remembering that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the hard work and sacrifices that my family made. It serves as a reminder of the progress this country has made in embracing and celebrating Latino culture, while also illustrating that that progress didn’t come easily and that there is still much to be done.
HOW HAS YOUR HISPANIC HERITAGE AFFECTED YOUR LIFE IN A UNIQUE WAY?
Greater than the sum of their parts, cities on the US-Mexico border are an amazing blend of Mexican and American culture with some distinctive traits of their own. Growing up in Laredo has made me a part of this special shared culture and has given me a sense of community with my fellow border pals. Making tamales for Christmas, having a carne asada for the Super Bowl, and going to Taco Palenque for a pirata taco are all common experiences that connect me to my border community in a unique way.