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Nothing was going to stop this go-getter from achieving her dream

May 10, 2018

Marielle Cortez

Marielle Cortez
Mechanical Engineering major | San Jose

Marielle Cortez grew up being around cars for as long as she can remember. She fondly recalls going to car shows and races as a child and spending hours with her dad in the garage while he worked on his car. Through these experiences, she developed a passion for cars.

When it came to choosing mechanical engineering as a major, she thought about how the environment she grew up in had influenced her personality and interests. She fell in love with the idea of applying engineering in a creative way, particularly through Computer Aided Design (CAD). This led Cortez to her dream of becoming a design engineer in the automotive industry.

During her time at Pacific, Cortez volunteered for Expanding Your Horizons and Habitat for Humanity. She also was involved in Theta Tau fraternity, Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity, Association of Engineering Students (AES) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Team Tech, where she was the design lead of the team for two years. Each year, the team works with an industry partner to develop a product from start to finish and participate in the national conference. Her experiences with SWE allowed her to produce a strong resume when looking for a Cooperative Education (CO-OP) internship to gain real-world work experience.

At the career fair of the SWE conference, Cortez walked right up to a representative from Toyota, did her elevator pitch and locked down an interview for the following morning. A few days later, she received an offer to be a design engineer for Toyota, securing her dream job at the age of 20. She excelled at her position and decided to delay her graduation date and complete two more CO-OPs with the company.

While it seems like everything went her way, her life journey has not always been easy. She has struggled with mental illness, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"It is my hope to inspire others with my story to continue to persevere through their own personal hardships," said Cortez. She continues to be a strong advocate for supporting those dealing with similar circumstances.

Cortez attributes her dream achievement and job success to the research opportunities and committed professors at Pacific.

"I really appreciate all the support I have received during my years as an undergrad at Pacific, and I am so proud to have achieved my dream as a design engineer in the automotive industry," said Cortez. 

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