Leslie Bautista has always loved the Earth, and is now working toward a career where she can have a real impact, helping to preserve and protect our environment. She’s currently studying civil engineering at Arizona State University.
“My motivation is the sustainability emphasis of civil engineering. I really care about the Earth – so, anything that has to do with saving the planet, my heart and my passion is right there. In civil engineering, you build structures and other things where you have to think about the environment first, before anything is done. And, I feel that that’s something that I’ve always cared about, which is the environment. As of right now, I see myself working for the city as a civil engineer, and pretty much, if they have to build anything, I get to have a say in the process, and give the environment a voice in the process of building.”
Transitioning from high school to college was a bit of a challenge for Leslie, “When I first started high school, I knew that it would be kind of easy, because I loved school – I always gave it my all. I had AP honors classes and I worked really, really hard. But, transitioning to college from high school was a bit scary and hard, because I really didn’t have a good understanding of what college is all about. Thankfully, I’ve realized that college can be difficult, and that it just takes a little bit of motivation and determination, and persistence, to keep on going – and I feel like that’s what I have, and that’s why I’ve stayed in college, and I will continue to stay in college and reach my goal of where I want to be, and that’s to become a civil engineer.”
Her most recent semester was once again online due to the pandemic, but Leslie entered it with a fresh mentality, determined to do well academically. She took on courses like Fluids and Transportation, which are tough courses in-person, so she knew it would be a challenge to take them via virtual learning. Her hard work paid off as she finished strong with a 3.55 GPA for the term.
One of her main goals for the spring semester was to find an internship to gain field experience. She attended several virtual fairs and did numerous interviews throughout the spring. Toward the end of the term, she was offered a paid position with Canyon State Electric as an Electrical Project Management Intern. She started in the spring and is looking forward to graduation this upcoming December.
“I am Mexican American and my parents are completely Mexican. I grew up speaking Spanish and my parents always told me that they never had the opportunity to go to school because they were taking care of us (kids). They did cross the border, and so I always told myself, ‘They crossed the border, so, I have to cross the stage and get my (college) degree.’ They worked so hard – I saw them give up blood, sweat, and tears to give us the best life possible. They’ve always supported me, and given me the motivation to go college and encouraged me to do it, and no matter what, don’t ever quit.”
“I feel like Matt’s role in my life is really important and I feel that we’ve built a friendship. Every time that I go into his office, it’s never a disappointment, and he’s always there with an open mind and an open heart. Matt is always there to listen and to help anybody out, and it’s just a great experience to be able to talk to him about how my life is going, how college is going, where I’m planning to go, and where I’m planning to be – because, I know that I have his support along with the Excel Program.”