• Student Stories: Karla Pereyra

  • Engineering - Associate of Science Transfer Degree

    As a Mt. Hood Community College Engineering Transfer student, Karla Pereyra’s path is not frequently traveled by females; and, for a Latina woman even going to college is not usually encouraged. However, Pereyra prefers to consider herself a role model for her two younger sisters. If she can break barriers and overcome obstacles herself then maybe the path for her sisters will be a little smoother.

    Pereyra came to the United States seven years ago from Sinaloa, Mexico and successfully graduated from high school although her command of English was limited.

    When Pereyra told her family she wanted to attend college, they discouraged her because they didn’t feel college was a necessity for females. Despite their objections, Pereyra set out to pay for her own education.

    She worked during the summer and saved her money so she could enroll at MHCC, and has continued to work even while a full-time student.

    “My friends were coming here, and it was more affordable,” Pereyra said. “However, now that I’ve graduated from MHCC and transferred to Portland State University, I see MHCC was also a great place to begin. The classes are smaller, and the teachers are more accessible.”

    Pereyra spent her first year at MHCC by taking general studies classes and then went to see an adviser to help her decide a major.

    “I thought I might want to study architecture at PSU, but there were few math classes required for the degree, and I love math and physics. My adviser suggested an engineering transfer track.”

    Students in the Engineering Transfer program take exploratory classes in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering to help them decide on an area of focus.

    “Once I got into the electrical engineering class and studied circuitry and robotics, I knew it was the route I wanted to go.” Pereyra said.

    Pereyra doesn’t mind holding down a job, carrying a full load of classes and being one of only a few women in her electrical engineering classes—not if it means her younger sisters will learn that barriers can be broken and their dreams can be achieved.