California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)
AIAA CSULB Student Branch Outreach Officer,
Long Beach Aviation (LBA) co-Chair
AIAA LA-LV Member
Diana Lopez, a first generation transfer student at California State University, Long Beach, who was born from Mexican immigrants, knows the value of hard work and determination. Growing up and seeing how hard her parents had to work to provide for their family now reflects her current studies and work ethic. Along with the encouragement of friends, family, teachers and mentors, her parents were the ones who really pushed and motivated her to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering.
Her father has worked as a CNC Machinist for a small Aerospace company for many years. But she actually didn’t know much about what he did on a day to day basis or even what Aerospace Engineering was, until middle school, when she took a tour of a small aerospace company with her father, that she realized just how much went into the process of building an aircraft, from the specialized nuts and bolts aboard the plane to the importance of air traffic control. And it was on that tour, during a panel with various engineers, where one Hispanic female engineer gave a particularly inspiring speech about her journey to becoming a lead engineer that Diana realized engineering was what she wanted to do, not only because of the endless possibilities in aerospace, but also to inspire others to do so as well, just as that female engineer inspired her as a young girl.
So she attended community college in her hometown then transferred to California State University, Long Beach, to pursue her degree in Aerospace Engineering. Soon after being enrolled, she wanted to get involved in something important she had never done before. She started as a mentee for the outreach coordinator of the CSULB branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, then took the opportunity to become outreach coordinator the following semester. She is also co-chair of Long Beach Aviation, the only aeronautics-based project currently at CSU Long Beach aiming to create a space where students passionate about aeronautics such as herself can gather to gain project experience through projects, such as building RC aircraft and drones, as well as professional experience and guidance through networking opportunities. From kindergartners to community college students to current or transitioning students at CSULB, she hopes that through her position as outreach coordinator of AIAA-CSULB and as co-chair of LBA that she can inspire many others to not only follow a STEM path but stick with it, too, because she believes that no matter how difficult or inaccessible something may seem, if you shoot for the sky, or stars even, and with enough passion and determination like so many other leaders in Aerospace have shown, you just might make it there someday.