How CNM Is Helping this Student Fulfill Her Lifelong Dream of Becoming an Engineer

Vicky Lizardi-Lobb knew she wanted to be an engineer 20 years ago, but didn't feel supported in the male-dominated STEM field. Now, she’s found community at CNM and is on her way to a successful engineering career
November 07, 2023

Vicky Lizardi-Lobb originally wanted to study engineering after she graduated from high school. But two decades passed before she finally got the opportunity. 

“I knew I wanted to study engineering 20 years ago, but I would have been one of few, if not the only, woman of color in the program and I didn’t feel supported,” she says. “CNM is completely different. I’ve found my community here in the Engineering program and I can’t speak highly enough of this institution.”

Soon after enrolling in Engineering Vicky noticed the diversity of CNM’s student body and faculty and felt more confident in her decision to come back to school. She also started utilizing the tutoring center and other student resources to help her stay on track. 

“I live and breathe by the tutoring center,” she says. “The tutors are amazing and they are there to help you navigate these tough subjects.”

Vicky also joined the STEM Core program, which guarantees enrollment in key classes, provides students with a weekly faculty meeting and academic advisor, connects them with professional development opportunities, and helps build community in student cohorts.

In April of this year, Theresa Aragon, one of Vicky’s STEM Core professors, mentioned the INVITE (Innovation, Technology, and Business in Engineering) workshop at the University of Notre Dame to Vicky and encouraged her to attend. During the two-day workshop, she and the other attendees learned more about Notre Dame’s engineering programs, toured the school, and networked with other STEM students from across the country. 

“The attendees of this workshop were all from underrepresented groups and it was so encouraging to be able to share our stories and learn from each other,” Vicky says. “I met so many amazing people, but most importantly I met other women from CNM that I wouldn’t have met otherwise and now we’re good friends. It was a truly special experience.”

Vicky hasn’t slowed down since she came back from the workshop at Notre Dame. She’s finishing her final term at CNM and has already started working towards her bachelor’s degree in engineering at UNM. She also recently started an internship at Los Alamos National Labs where she’ll be working on a hydrogen fusion project. 

But for Vicky, this is just the beginning. She ultimately wants to earn her Ph.D. in engineering and go on to work in renewable energy to combat the growing climate crisis. 

Above all, she wants to inspire others, especially her children, women, and women of color to pursue STEM careers. 

“When I came to CNM, for the first time I saw instructors who looked like me and I knew then that I could do this,” Vicky says. “I want to set the same example for my son and daughter, and for the other women in my community. We’re farther than we were 20 years ago, but there is still room to grow and I want to continue to contribute to that growth.”