STEM Role Models

Profile photo of Karla Gutierrez :
I am a first-generation Latina whose journey has been shaped by my upbringing in a Hispanic-dominant community, where, despite the lack of direction toward higher education, I made the push to achieve more than immediate employment after high school graduation. In 2021, I decided to attend UC Berkeley, where I knew I could merge my passions for biological systems and technological innovation. I chose to major in Bioengineering with a concentration in medical devices to further explore the intersection between hardware and human systems. To further enhance my learning in the classroom, I became an undergraduate researcher through the Bioengineering Scholars Program, where I was invited to present my work at the Dean’s Society event. I’m now involved in a project under Professor Gu’s lab, where I aim to develop a 3D-printed synthetic ligament for ligament tears. Beyond my academic pursuits, I am involved in the Prosthetic Arm team in the Bioprinting @Cal Organization, focusing on developing a low-cost 3D-printed prosthetic arm. When not immersed in research or campus activities, I enjoy building Legos, going to escape rooms, or watching movies. I aspire to pursue an MBA to deepen my understanding of both technical skills and business acumen. Afterwards, I want to obtain a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, with a specific focus on hardware design with a human-centric approach. This advanced degree will provide the opportunity to delve deeper into the intricacies of designing technologies that prioritize human well-being and usability. Ultimately, I want to establish a startup dedicated to developing low-cost medical devices that address critical healthcare needs.

NERDS has been impactful in my academic journey because of the directors, who possess keen insights into professional development opportunities. Their guidance has been instrumental in gaining invaluable skills such as creating effective research posters and preparing for conferences. Moreover, it's a supportive space where I can openly share both my achievements and setbacks, and receiving unwavering encouragement and assistance in approaching my future steps.

NERDS is more than a study space, but a place where students can receive guidance to further enhance their academic journey to become future leaders.