Ariana Muñiz has always had a passion for creative problem-solving, engaging in the STEM field since her Science Olympiad days in middle school in New Mexico. “Engineering, to me, means being able to understand the world,” she said. “I have always been very creative, and I find myself always wanting to take that scientific, creative outlet.”
Muñiz, a first-generation college student, has just completed her first semester at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, studying computer science and business administration. In just a few months, she has made friends, joined clubs and acclimated to her new surroundings.
Thanks to a generous gift from the Doug Peacock Scholarship Fund, Muñiz has time to pursue her interests outside the classroom instead of having to work when not in school.
“The support I’ve received from that scholarship, the money, and the people I spoke with gives me reassurance that my hard work is paying off,” she said. “I think that is exactly what I need as a first-generation student.”
Since becoming a Trojan, Muñiz has joined the USC Society for Women Engineers (SWE) and the USC Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). She has also volunteered with the USC Women’s Network.
Something that sticks out to Muñiz about USC Viterbi is all the resources. “There is so much that they offer,” she said.
She is also grateful for the USC Viterbi Center for Engineering Diversity, where she frequently attends events. “It can be overwhelming not to see other people like you, so it’s really nice,” she said of the center.
It is no secret that affordability is an obstacle for many talented students seeking a college degree. In an effort to ease the financial burden of a coveted USC education, USC Viterbi has partnered with TransDigm Group Inc. to provide students with need-based scholarships.
TransDigm, a global aerospace company, has established a scholarship at USC aimed to increase diversity in the engineering and business worlds. The company has pledged to award 75 scholarships to USC students by the year 2024 through the Doug Peacock Scholarship Fund.
Laura Garcia is another student receiving a scholarship from the fund. As a first-generation Chicana engineering student, she feels valued as a result of this scholarship. Growing up, she questioned her worth because of her Mexican identity and felt pressured to become the “perfect” student.
“By receiving this, I know that I’m not just another overlooked minority who adds to the diversity of the school,” Garcia said. “I know that my work is appreciated, which encourages me to keep striving for better results from myself.”
Growing up, Muñiz’s grandparents instilled in her a concrete set of values and morals. Simply put, she wants to take those to make positive change.
“They really came from nothing,” she said “They made a life for themselves in the U.S. that took a lot of work and resilience and that is something I want to carry with me.”
Muñiz hopes to use her degree to “simplify the complexities and challenges that many face in low income communities through programming.”
Thanks to the Doug Peacock Scholarship, she now has the freedom to explore and find opportunities beyond her classes at USC to make her dream a reality.
“Assisting students who might not otherwise have the resources to continue developing their skillsets through post-secondary educational opportunities is an important initiative for TransDigm,” said Kevin Stein, TransDigm Group’s president and chief executive officer. “We are honored to contribute through the Doug Peacock Scholarship Program.”
Published on May 11th, 2022
Last updated on May 11th, 2022