Daymara Vega

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Geosciences

College/School: School of Environment, Arts and Society; College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Daymara Vega had to make difficult choices to move to the United States.

She would have to walk away from school just a year shy of earning a college degree in meteorology. She would have to learn a new language. The one thing Daymara wouldn’t do was leave her mother and her older sister, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, behind in Cuba.

When the three women arrived in the United States, Daymara would continue making sacrifices for her family. She started working a 3 a.m. shift as a passenger service representative for American Airlines. She spent a year learning English and another year earning an associate degree before transferring to FIU.

Thanks to the mentorship of professor Hugh Willoughby, Daymara persevered in the university’s rigorous meteorology program, earning a 3.22 GPA and interning in the weather department of Miami’s Telemundo Channel 51 – all while being the lead caregiver for her sister.

Daymara says she’s had to work hard but is grateful to be living in the United States, where she’s been able to take her sister to Disney World and provide her and her mother with the medicines and food that were so difficult to come by in Cuba.

After commencement, Daymara looks forward to continuing her studies and earning graduate degrees that will help her further research into hurricanes and tornados, hoping to make these deadly weather phenomena easier to predict.