Gina Valerio, majoring in Mechanical Engineering, is a JustJobs Scholarship Finalist

Engineering is a field that I have always interested in, even before I knew that it was engineering. As far back as I can remember I enjoyed taking objects in my house apart – the remote control, my Barbie convertible, pretty much anything that had exposed screws, I went after. The curiosity to figure out how things work, and the exponential ability to re-work them to complete new tasks, has forever intrigued me. This curiosity has plagued me since I was young. My parents told me that I studied the way my twin sister threw her weight around in her walker to move, before I even tried to move my own. Once I was confident in the principle of the idea, I took my first walker-assisted steps.

Once I was fully capable of walking on my own, I loved when I could help my dad fix things around the house:  Loose door knobs.  Running toilets.  Broken faucets.  I was not the only beneficiary of my chronic curiosity, at home I was in charge of all of the DVD players, the VCRs, computers, including setting up maintaining, and reminding my mom how to use any of the audio visual equipment. My favorite part was when he let me roam around Sears and play (carefully) with some of the hardware.

Up until recently I took for granted the knowledge that I had accumulated about how things work. It took a failed bike ride for me to realize that the rest of my friends didn’t see gears, chains, and brakes in the same clarity that I understood them. I began to realize that all the things that I loved doing fell into the engineering discipline when I started to study robotics. The mechanics of how all of the different aspects, hardware and software, work together to make a functioning machine continues to thrill me. For me the choice to major in Engineering was made when I stopped reading the instruction manual for assembly required products.

Aside from the obvious obstacles that all engineering students have to over come, a rigorous course load, less time for social activities, pressure to find an internship and co-op to be competitive upon graduation, I have the added obstacle of being a women in a mostly male dominated field. I’ve had to continue overcome this obstacle throughout my life, during my study of robotics, in my engineering classes in high school and college, and in the clubs that I’m in at college, the women are critically outnumbered.

To graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering will mean to me that I will know how to think critically. Not only will I be well versed in physics, and calculus, but I will know how to manage my time, resources, and emotions to be productive.’s scholarship program is proud to announce Gina Valerio as one of the finalists for its December 2012 application deadline. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • Jason Basile

    In my 18 years of teaching, I struggle with identifying many students who match Gina’s intelligence and dedication. I had the pleasure of supervising Gina in two camps for children. She was an outstanding model for young girls. She was patient, caring, and considerate of all students. She was always punctual and eager to help in anyway possible. At first, I thought she was a lock for a future teacher since she seemingly interacted with children so easily, but I have to admit that I was somewhat saddened to hear that she would be an engineering major in college.

    After talking to hear about it this summer, I couldn’t be prouder. I am confident that she will approach this endeavor like everything she has ever done with dedication, hard work, and a gigantic smile. She is just an exceptional student and person!

  • I work with Gina’s dad and have heard a lot of stories of things repaired or improved at their house by Gina. She is the best candidate for this scholarship!

  • Carmen Valerio PE (Dad)

    Gina is an “Engineer’s Engineer”. What’s that you ask. Gina is so committed to the proper implementation of scientific and engineering principles that she would grease the tracks, untangle the rope and sharpen the blade of the guillotine before she would lay down on the table. She will make the world a better place!

  • Pam

    Gina will not only make a great engineer, the obvious was stated in her essay, but also a great role model for other women. Gina was a swim instructor and helped young children get over their fear of water. Gina has the drive and ambition to succeed in anything she decides to do. Engineering has always been a passion for Gina, even before she could put a name to it. If anyone is deserving of this scholarship it would be Gina – a truly humbled, confident young women!

  • Frank

    As a man in the engineering field I’ve witnessed first handed how some men to this day still treat women as through they don’t belong in the work place. It’s nice to see that there are women out there who are willing to step up knowing that they are going to face adversity.

  • Emma

    Gina definitely deserves this scholarship. She is very hardworking and a genuinely good person!

  • Maureen

    Gina totally deserves this because she is the smartest, nicest, and most hardworking person I know. She’s really someone to look up to and she has earned this scholarship.

  • Liz

    Gina deserves this award. She is a hardworking individual who I have had the pleasure of growing up with. She is someone who definitely thinks outside of the box and is not afraid to try something new.

  • Lauren

    Gina has always been the type of person that is up for any challenge and will find any way to fix a problems or to make an item faster, better, or more efficient. She has the will power, the brains, and is such and amazing and inspiring person that anyone would love to work with her. I don’t know any other person that started robotics in elementary school and has continued that passion and turned it into their dream of a career (that is soon to come true). Gina not only has made it her passion but her mission to be the best she can be, and in making that her goal she has joined a plethora of clubs to enhance her abilities in this field ranging from THON to Women of Engineering Club, and although she is only a freshman many upper class men already see the potential that she holds.

  • Joan Forster

    Gina is such a beautiful young lady both inside and outside..I have known Ginna from the. Instant she was born.Gina is very hellpful,loving, kind and very intelagent .She loves to solve problems and takes her time to think them out.Gina will do very. Well in life because of her positive Thinking and happy outlook..

  • Joanne

    If ever there was a young woman who is totally capable of conquering the male dominated world of engineering, it is Gina. If a dedication to excellence, a passion for learning, an unbounded sense of curiosity and an amazing work ethic are attributes that this scholarship committee is searching for, then this applicant is truly worthy!!

  • Ian Jackson

    Gina is easily the hardest worker and the most deserving of any kind of award for her excellence. she excels in sports, academics, extra curricular activities, everything she sets her mind to. When she first told me she was majoring in engineering, i knew it was the only thing for her. she is so fascinated with building and designing things, and she puts 100% of herself into anything she focuses on. If you can find someone other than Gina who deserves this scholarship more, I advise you to pick them, but I only say that because you will not find someone like that.

  • Nicole

    Gina has been like an older sister to me. She is so dedicated and very hard working. I think that she deserves this scholarship!

  • The true makings of an engineer,

  • anon

    I am at Penn State with Gina and she is a very hard worker. She loves being a part of the Battle Bots team even though she is one of only a few females on the team. She has also been raving about her one class and how she gets to take a part a bike and put it back together and how excited she is to participate in that. Not only is she a great student, but she is a genuine person. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to have met her at school. She is one of the most trustworthy and honest people I have ever encountered. Gina is an engineer and deserves this scholarship.

  • Coach B

    Gina is a hard worker and dedicated individual. As a teacher and coach you couldn’t ask for a better individual.

  • Becky L.

    Gina’s description of herself as an inquisitive, analytical person seems spot on to me! She has always struck me as earnestly curious about how the world works and always determined to find out. Good luck with your career Gina!

  • Maribeth

    Gina is a very hard worker and not afraid to shoot for the stars. She definitely deserves this scholarship!

  • Brian Zeigler

    Gina is one of the most positive people I know. She is incredibly hard working and truly an incredible individual. Gina deserves this award!

  • CL

    Gina is one of the hardest working girls I know. She is most definitely deserving of this scholarship!

  • Gina is one of the most remarkable young woman I have had the pleasure of working with in a 23 year career in teaching and coaching. No challenge stops her and all done with a grin from ear to ear.

  • KZ

    I’ve known Gina almost my entire life. Whenever I had something that needed fixing, she is the person I would call. She helped my mother and I fix a cabinet drawer which has been broken for years once she realized that we had just kind of been slamming it shut. She is not only capable of fixing things in the engineering world, she is also an incredibly honorable person. She is genuine, helpful, and reliable. Gina is absolutely deserving of this scholarship.

  • Ashley K.

    Gina definitely deserves this award!

  • Kelsi forster

    Great essay. I love the part about you put things together without instructions! I tried that a couple of times…. Lets just say wish I had you around when I did!