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A STEM-inist on a Mission

Jenny smiling

Meet Jenny Herrera, a first-generation STEM college student at the University of Arizona.

Jenny Herrera, Class of 2024
Phoenix, Arizona
Major: Biology (Pre-Med)
Minor: Spanish

Jenny Herrera has her sights set on the future. She’s a first-generation college student studying pre-medicine and an active member of Arizona's Science, Engineering, and Math Scholars (ASEMS) , a program that supports students who are historically underrepresented in STEM. With the backing of a premier research university, there’s nothing that can stop Jenny from achieving her dreams.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I grew up in Phoenix. However, when I was born my parents took me to la Ciudad México where I lived and attended preschool until I was four years old. After that, we came back to Phoenix and I attended school there. Every summer I would go back to Mexico and spend time with my family. I still do so to this day. 

Growing up, I did not have the same financial status as those around me, and it was difficult for me and my family. I grew up learning two languages at the same time while going to school and having to perform at the same level as those around me. I am a low-income, first-generation woman in STEM who is determined to have a better future.

What keeps you motivated?

What keeps me motivated right now more than ever is my family. I am doing this for them, as well as for myself. I feel like they are lifting me up from my bed every morning, and they are the reason why I continue to push myself and continue to thrive.

What do you want to do after graduation?

I would like to go to medical school to become a trauma or general surgeon. During my college career, I would like to get some experience as an EMT. This will allow me to experience the rush of being the first person on the scene and to see which career route I would prefer. 

Tell us about the Arizona's Science, Engineering, and Math Scholars (ASEMS) program. 

ASEMS helps low-income, first-generation students who are going into STEM throughout their college career. The program provides opportunities to succeed and thrive in college. I got involved because I wanted to have a guiding hand in finding opportunities that will help me further my education. I also liked that the environment is students who are in the same place as I am – they are pursuing an education in STEM and come from similar backgrounds.

What advice would you give to future Wildcats?

Not everyone has this opportunity to go to college. This is a way for you to figure out what it is that you really want to do in life. It's a way to grow and expand. It is hard for some, but it is something that will help you in the future and in life. College allows you to have so many opportunities. It’s just a matter of how you want to experience it. 

Did you know, the University of Arizona is Arizona’s first four-year public university recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education? Learn more about resources for our Hispanic students or start your Wildcat journey by applying today.




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