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Success Stories

Alba Marcelin ’23

May 24, 2021
young woman

Alba Marcelin ’23, an aerospace engineering major, became interested in airports and planes at an early age. As she got older, she realized she could make a career out of this interest. Since the age of four, her mom would take her and her brother to Spain over summer vacations to visit family. It was through these visits that Alba became fascinated with one airport in particular, Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport.

“I simply fell in love with the aesthetics of the airport,” she says. “The waved roof structure made out of bamboo sustained by rainbow colored ‘Y’ shaped beams, which extended from one end of the airport to the other, were enough to fascinate my mind for months on end.” 

It was through this curiosity that Alba began to research and expand her knowledge of the aviation industry, as well as growing a hobby for plane spotting. “My ultimate dream is to become a commercial airline pilot,” she says. “A degree in aerospace engineering is a great way to bridge and open doors to many possibilities in the aerospace industry. Being able to work with airplanes and improve their systems for the environment is my main career goal.”

After transferring into the new major at UHart, Alba felt excited to begin exploring internship opportunities in the field. She will be working this summer as a manufacturing engineering intern at Burke Aerospace (formally known as Turbine Technologies).

While I was on tour, I was able to walk around and actually see students like me. Being a person of color and mixed background, as well as having attended a high school that was made up of minority students, I wanted to attend school where people like me could be seen daily and not simply be counted on a few fingers.” Alba was selected as a recipient of UHart’s Leadership Scholarship during the annual competition, which relieved some financial stress given that her twin brother also attends the University.

Alba Marcelin ’23, aerospace engineering

Alba chose to attend UHart because it was the first college campus that made her feel comfortable. She first enrolled at UHart as a mechanical engineering major, as it was the only major at the time to meet her career goals. However, the aerospace engineering major will now allow her to focus more on the specific science and technologies that create, develop, and improve aircraft and spacecraft. She will be one of many students able to utilize new space in UHart’s new academic building opening this fall that will be dedicated to aerospace engineering. “I am excited for the opportunities that the new academic building will present to us as students,” she says. “For me personally, the aerospace and turbomachinery labs are where I hope to spend the majority of my time. The advancement in technology and innovation will help many of us expand our knowledge and get more hands-on experience in preparation for our future.”

Alba is highly involved at UHart through multiple organizations. She currently serves on the executive board as treasurer for UHart’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). She says NSBE has really established a true family atmosphere where everyone supports one another. She also serves as a student ambassador in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA) Leadership Society, where she speaks with prospective students on what it is like to attend the University. By being a student ambassador, she also takes on an important role of being the voice for many other students who wish for change and inclusivity. Alba is also a proud member of a few other clubs on campus such as Brothers and Sisters United, the Caribbean American Student Association, and the Society of Women Engineers.

Alba credits a few individuals at UHart for helping her get to where she is today. Center for Student Success Associate Director Julie Spring served as Alba’s first-year advisor. “Julie is always there for me and has my best interest at heart,” she says. Evan Holliday ’17, CETA’s manager of collegiate admission and retention, has helped Alba grow as her mentor for the CETA Leadership Society. “Evan is open, honest, and one of the easiest people to talk to,” she explains. Finally, one of her faculty members, Alireza Jamalipour M’04 has made a true impact on her by “taking the time to teach not only the course content effectively but focus on important life skills in the process.” 

Alba is inspired by women in the industry. To inspire future engineers at UHart, she quotes the former CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, who says, “Work with the smartest people you can find, do something you’re not ready to do, find an environment in which you’re very comfortable so you can find your voice, and work for someone who believes in you— because when they believe in you, they’ll invest in you.”