Music and engineering brought Brenda Escobeda to Moraine Valley. “I was involved in the college’s community band during my senior year of high school and I really liked it,” she says.

Some of her fellow band members suggested she consider Moraine Valley, so she started looking into all the programs available. “Once I found the Engineering Pathways Program, it just kind of clicked.”

This unique program lets students complete their first two years at Moraine Valley and be guaranteed admission to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Engineering as a junior.

In addition to being a part of the Engineering Pathways Program, Brenda participates in the Robotics Club, Women in Technology Mentoring Program, Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She was a Distinguished Scholar Award recipient and still plays in Moraine Valley’s band.

Brenda’s interest in engineering has led her to some exciting opportunities beyond the classroom. She interned at Argonne National Laboratory, attended the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit and Honors Ceremony Gala in San Francisco, and she was chosen to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Program, where she completed a special online course and got to design her own Mars Rover Mission. Brenda says she “was absolutely ecstatic” when she learned she’d been chosen to be a part of the program.

Brenda encourages anyone who plans to pursue a STEM-related degree to consider Moraine Valley.

“I think most, if not all, students should consider Moraine Valley,” she says. “I get so much help from my instructors. I can talk to them before or after class. And I love the campus. Also, they have so many different degrees and things people can study. It was such a great decision for me to come here.”