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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Student Groups Strengthen Gayla Perez in her Work
Gayla Perez

As an older, non-traditional first-generational student, Gayla Perez recognizes challenges in "relearning" in college classrooms. She was hesitant to return to college after receiving academic suspension at another college. But, after encouragement from her employer and a Science Scholarship, Gayla jumped back to school with trepidation.

With a busy schedule as a full-time worker, Gayla knew her time was limited, but she wanted to succeed, so she set a path to become active in skill-related groups like the Math and Science clubs. At these clubs, she met peers with similar interests who would be inspiring encouragers she needed to overcome challenging topics, such as the discouragement she faced when finding out her math scores were lower than anticipated. With steady encouragement from her peers, employer, and teachers, Gayla chose to participate in the Research Fair at Saint Paul College. She presented "Corrosion Mitigation on Stainless-Steel Springs" to help find a solution to prevent corrosion on stainless steel springs. This research was attractive among Fair attendees and beneficial for her employer.

Gayla’s research was viewed favorably by faculty and peers, and she was encouraged to share her research at the 2023 Annual S-STEM Scholars Meeting in Washington, DC. This opportunity allowed her to meet many more peers, with the conference comprising more than 1,000 other students from across the United States. She returned more confident in her abilities, which helped her with her career at Colder Products Company.

Gayla is currently taking Physics 1 and Engineering CADD classes with plans to graduate with an Science and Engineering Technology AS degree in Fall 2024. She continues to work as a Test Lab Consultant and is grateful for her employer’s support throughout this journey.

A list of Saint Paul College’s clubs is at Student Organizations.

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