Ana Lazarin, director of programs to broaden participation in engineering at Wichita State University, works to instill in students an interest in engineering.
She does a lot of outreach, recruitment and retention work with students of all ages.
Lazarin has a special interest in working with the underrepresented and minority students in engineering.
It’s something close to her heart.
Lazarin, a WSU engineering graduate, was the first person in her family to finish high school and the first to attend college.
She grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico, the youngest of three children.
For years, her dad would come to the U.S. for seasonal farm work and return to Mexico when the season was over.
When she was 13, her father moved the family to Kansas to provide her with a better future.
During high school she wanted to go to college but had little idea what to major in. She enjoyed math and working with computers.
The school counselor and a teacher had her search for careers that used the two skills.
She discovered engineering.
Lazarin attended Garden City Community College before transferring to WSU.
While still a student, she began working in outreach, recruitment and retention for WSU’s engineering department. That was in 2008.
She took on the position full time in 2011.
When staff was added to her department more than a year ago, Lazarin said it allowed the staff to expand their work with what she calls underrepresented groups, including blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and females.
She said the number of minority students in engineering at WSU has nearly doubled in the past five years, and the total number of engineering students has grown as well.
Last year, Lazarin was awarded the inaugural Global Engineering Deans Council Airbus Diversity Award.
She is married to Diego Lazarin, a teacher. They have a new baby girl, Italia.