"Annette Alanis, Director of Biomedical and Aerospace Engineering at NASA," I would say, introducing myself to the next astronaut that would venture into deep space. "You're in good hands my friend." With a firm handshake, I would begin the familiar tour of the machinery that many of my colleagues and I helped engineer. My decision to be an engineer was never a question. I have dreamed of becoming an engineer since I saw the film "ET" by Stephen Spielberg. Not because of the wrinkled alien friend and his protagonist, but because of the adventure to space, discovering the unknown, conceptualizing what is beyond us; these ideas have always fascinated me. Yet, a real conflict occurred later in life because I developed a new passion: Biomedicine. I wanted to understand cancer cells and be a part of the research to help discover a more effective treatments or even a cure. As much as my love for space was a large influence in my childhood, cancer was a more personal theme in my life because I lost an uncle to Neuroblastoma. Therefore, my ultimate decision became to major in Mechanical Engineering. Mechanical Engineering will offer me a broad understanding of the engineering principals and overlaps with Aerospace Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.
As an alum from IDEA College Preparatory Mission, I am an incoming freshman at Texas A&M University accepted into the Engineering Honors Program planning on majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I have taken one step closer to my dreams. Looking back on it, none of it would have been possible without the support of my charter school. At my school, we are expected to go to a summer program our junior year. We have counselors that meet with us on a daily basis. We are expected to apply to at least five universities by December of our senior year. Our support carries beyond the classroom, extending to weekend tutoring, paid NMSI sessions, and AP classes. My school day did not end at 3:45pm. I stayed after school every day for a club or activity that I learned to care for and I attended Saturday school for further help in order to get a high score on the AP exams.
I received many opportunities because of the personalized support my school provided and I would not be where I am today without their intervention. I have held eight officer positions, volunteered over 750 hours in over 31 organizations, and have traveled the world from Model United Nation competitions in Washington D.C. to learning about the Chinese culture in Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai. Charter schools provide endless opportunities and they are serious about students taking advantage of every opportunity to succeed because charter schools care, as my school did. Now, as I go to college and pursue my dreams, I’ll remember what my school instilled upon me: hard work, motivation, and perseverance. My school believed I could walk the stage at graduation, when I couldn't even envision it myself.