My name is Julia Selene Mata Davila; I am a first-generation, low-income Latinx student making her way into STEM. I am a fourth-year undergraduate studying Astrophysics. I am from Corcoran, a small town located in the basin that is the Central Valley. My interests vary from playing soccer to discussing how to show up for our communities. I am involved with an amazing org known as HES, as well as being a volunteer for the Graduate Assembly and Community Resources for Science.
NERDS is an organization I have known about since my first semester at Cal. Every time I would walk into Stephens Hall, my eyes automatically moved up to read the research posters on the walls. Everything I saw was inspiring but seemingly unreachable. Over my time at Cal, I have found it difficult to get involved in research. The conversation around research is extremely vague; we are encouraged to do it but we are not given the tools to do so. NERDS has given me those tools and so much more. Research is intimidating, especially as a nontraditional student. Participating in this program helped me get an introduction to the world of research that I have been looking for. NERDS has the atmosphere and values I have been searching for. They have taught me that I am capable of success.