Karina Aguilar Credits MCC for Workforce Preparation

As Mesa Community College graduate Karina Aguilar begins her new job at Aira, a company that provides augmented reality assistance services through remote and smart glasses technology to blind and visually impaired clients, she remembers the support she received at MCC that motivated her to succeed in her professional and academic goals.

“The most important skills I gained from Mesa Community College came from connecting with many wonderful professors, advisers, and supervisors,” Aguilar said. “Even when I had days where I knew I wasn't putting my best effort in, they still advised me in the best way possible, and motivated me to become self-disciplined and hard-working. Everyone clearly cared about my goals and how I could achieve them, and this personal touch will always remain with me.”

Aguilar graduated from MCC in May of 2015 with associate’s degrees in science, arts, and general studies. The grants and awards she received included the NASA NCAS Community College Aerospace Scholarship, the Malathai Rajagopal and Narain Kaur Sheoran Scholarship, the Phi Theta Kappa Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship, the Ryan Travis Spude Memorial Chemistry Scholarship, the Ray Cattani Memorial Scholarship Endowment, and the Phi Theta Kappa Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship.

After graduating from MCC, she transferred to UC San Diego and graduated with a bachelor's of science degree in general biology. She received the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholarship, the CAMP Research Assistant Scholarship Award, the UCSD IME-BECAS Summer Research Scholarship, and the Diana C. Miles Scholarship.

Aguilar said she loves the fields of biotechnology and medicine because of the wide range of independence and autonomy provided to individuals through these fields. She likes assisting people as they enhance their everyday experience through technology.

“Every day looks different at Aira, and many of the Explorers utilize our technology for a wide range of tasks, which have included taking pictures of their guide dogs and children, helping them navigate to a coffee shop and be outside alone for the first time, and even describing fireworks on the Fourth of July,” Aguilar said.

She plans to continue working in the biotech industry and pursuing professional or graduate school in the future.

“Every day I change my mind about what I want to do with my life, but I really only have the opportunity to explore myself so much through the help of others,” she said. “My accomplishments aren't really my own but a culmination of all of the wonderful support I've had in my life, and I'll forever be grateful to Mesa Community College for preparing me for my professional and academic goals.”