Patricia Garcia

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Engineering

College: College of Engineering and Computing

Patricia Garcia’s FIU journey began more than 1,000 miles away at a university in Washington, D.C. She had been awarded a prestigious scholarship to attend the institution, but something didn’t feel right. During her freshman orientation, Patricia made a life-changing decision. She withdrew from the program, enrolled at FIU and returned to the hometown she felt had molded her into the woman she had become.

Today, Patricia is graduating as part of the Honors College and is making FIU history as one of the first to graduate from the university’s new interdisciplinary engineering program. At FIU, she has built a network outside of her area of study and has designed a college experience that blends her passion for engineering, business, and design.

During summers, Patricia traded a swimsuit for a lab coat and traveled more than 1,000 miles to several full-time summer research positions at renowned institutions. From engineering 3D skeletal muscle tissue at a top tech institution to developing a piezoelectric sensor to detect pressure changes of the radial artery at another university, Patricia honed her skills and further developed a passion for engineering design. Last summer, she interned at Medtronic as a manufacturing engineer.

Recently, Patricia developed a startup concept that focuses on creating more inclusive and sustainable college campuses. So far, her concept has raised more than $30,000 in seed funding from national pitch competitions and has received notable media coverage. 

When not in the classroom, research lab or working on her entrepreneurial endeavors, Patricia mentors future generations of Miami STEM leaders. She is involved with TECHNOLOchicas, a national initiative of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and the Televisa Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness among young Latinas about careers in technology. Patricia also coordinates interactive tech workshops for young Latinas attending local Title 1 schools in underprivileged areas of Miami.

Patricia is now deciding whether to take a job with Microsoft or head to graduate school after accepting the prestigious GEM Fellowship.

By Elizabeth Calzadilla
Director, Marketing and Communications
College of Engineering and Computing

Nominated by Yenisleidy Simon Mengana