Gabriela Villate


Engineering Futures Mentor

Like many engineering students, Gabriela Villate has had a lot on her plate in her first three years at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. The rising senior is pursuing a master’s degree in computer science with ASU’s four plus one graduate program.

“Computer Science just has a lot of branches that it covers,” Villate said. “It has a lot of opportunity.”

She originally chose ASU because of what she had heard about it’s researched-based engineering program. “When you hear about ASU’s program, it’s big; it’s really accepting; It just sounds really inclusive and positive,” she said.

From freshman year on, she got involved in the Women in Computer Science club, where she first joined as the outreach chair, and in August, will fulfill the role of external vice president. Beyond clubs, Villate is also an engineering futures mentor. Though it’s technically another leadership position, she does not identify it as a role that separates her from her peers.

“We’re nothing crazy,” she said. “We’re just a bunch of students who just want to help other students…We’re all going through our own stuff, and we just kind of want to be a support network.”

Over the summer, Villate interned at PayPal in Scottsdale to get her foot in the door and experience project-based work in the industry. “It’s cool to know that this [being an intern] is going to be helpful for people … they weren’t going to waste my time and make me do something random.”

Villate is considering becoming a professor in her future but wants to get industry experience beforehand.

“I’m thinking maybe like app development, most likely. Just something that people really interact with,” she said. “I don’t think it’s very fair to teach people but not know how it’s like in the real world.” But as an undergraduate Teaching Assistant (TA), being a professor appeals to her.

She wants to instil a message of persistence in other engineering students

“There’s nothing wrong with switching majors if you find something that you enjoy better … Always make sure you’re pursuing something that you enjoy,” she said. Engineering isn’t easy, but that’s no reason to quit, she said. “Reach out to mentors, whether they’re your peers, or professors, or the tutoring center … If you really wanna apply yourself to engineering- if you care about it- you can do it.”

By Summer Sorg, Science and Technology Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
July 10, 2019