By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

FernandoSerna-80RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University Tri-Cities student Fernando Serna was selected recently as one of 107 Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Award Corp. scholars through the Great Minds in STEM organization.

He was awarded a $2,000 EMC2 Corp. scholarship and will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the HENAAC science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) conference Oct. 14-18 in Pasadena, Calif. He will participate in STEM networking opportunities, a scholars pinning ceremony and a student leadership dinner.

Fernando Serna.

An electrical engineering major, Serna said he originally became interested in the STEM fields as a child: “I’ve been into computers since I was a kid. I liked playing around with the programs and how they were made.”

His start in education wasn’t easy, however. He said he struggled early in elementary school to learn English since the only language spoken in his home was Spanish. In second grade, however, he went from reading at the rate of eight words per minute to 130 words per minute and earned the award of most improved in his class.

“I was challenged in school, but I worked really hard to overcome that challenge,” he said. “That drive for learning has never left me.”

At WSU Tri-Cities he has found opportunities to advance in STEM fields. He said he hopes to secure an electrical engineering internship at Lockheed Martin.

During his scholars experience, he looks forward to flying on an airplane for the first time and mingling with representatives from some of the best engineering companies in the world.


Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities public relations specialist, 509-372-7333,