Tamalpais Adult School
Nominated in 2022
Isela Sosa, a Latina in STEM, Clearing a Path for Underserved Students
- Recipient of a Stanford Summer Science Internship, 2022
- Recipient of highly selective conference invitation focused on Diversity in Physics, UCSC, 2022
- Recipient of AAUW Scholarship for Women in STEM, 2022
- Recipient of the Rotary Club of Ignacio STEM Scholarship, 2022
"Don't put me in a box or stereotype. I fight without weapons. I'm here, I'm doing great and deserve your respect."
Isela Sosa hails from El Salvador, arriving in the United States in 2004 to meet her mother for the first time. Isela was raised by her grandparents and had only planned to stay for a short time in the United States. Isela enrolled at Tamalpais Adult School in 2005, taking ESL classes for three years since she spoke no English. In 2009, Isela started a family and took time away from school to work and raise two children. During these nine years, Isela and her family lived in poverty, depending on the local food bank for nourishment while she worked several jobs that didn't make ends meet. Times were very tough.
"No one looks like me…"
In 2017, Isela returned to Tam Adult School to earn a GED while concurrently attending College of Marin's STEM program and working full-time. She began in the lowest level Algebra class at the college. Today, Isela is finishing Calculus BC and excels in mathematics and science. As the only woman and person of color in her college physics class, Isela grappled with self-doubt about whether she belonged in the college STEM program. The lack of representation of both women and BIPOC in STEM is something Isela aims to fix. Isela knows what it means to be persistent, resilient, hardworking, and part of a movement to break down antiquated barriers that have held back BIPOC college students for too long.
"Isela, you have to learn to love logs..."
…said her College of Marin calculus professor when Isela was struggling with calculus logarithms. Isela now uses these words of wisdom as a metaphor pushing through difficult times and shares this guidance with others.
"I've been discovering me, over the last three years, feeling confident…"
Isela's intelligence, talent, hard work, and dedication have not gone unnoticed. She has presented at graduation ceremonies to middle school students and is the recipient of several recent science-based awards, conference invitations, and internships.
Isela Sosa is a trailblazer. Staff at both Tamalpais Adult School and College of Marin are excited to see Isela's growth and opportunities expand for a promising career in the STEM field.