Lo Dificil Cuesta (Difficult Tasks Require Hard Work)

Civil engineering major Marieli Rubio ’21, a First-Generation Latina, shares her story of being resourceful, proactive, and resilient.

Growing up, civil engineering major Marieli Rubio '21 always wanted to live up to the example of her parents. Born and raised in St. Helena, California, a small town known for its wine industry, her family and community showed the importance of working hard and embracing her Mexican-American culture and identity. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants and a proud first-generation Latina, she learned to be resourceful, proactive, and resilient. When Marieli was younger, she would accompany her father to town hall meetings, where she would translate and help him organize various community initiatives. 

Witnessing his strong passion to elevate opportunities for Latinx families, despite his personal health issues and language barrier, inspired her to do the same. Her parents taught Marieli to use her voice, advocate for underrepresented communities, and become a leader.  Her mom always told her, “be like a cactus. Adapt to any circumstance or environment, be strong, and never forget to flourish.” 

After her father’s passing five years ago, Marieli says her family, community, and faith helped her cherish every moment of life. To this day, she still feels his encouragement as she continues her journey as a young professional in STEM. She looks forward to graduating from Santa Clara University this spring, as it signifies an important milestone for Marieli and her father. After graduating, she hopes to pursue a full-time position that aligns with her passion for sustainable urban planning, teaching, and scaling social enterprises. She feels it is vital to have more Latina representation in STEM, and is proud to be one of them. 

Marieli’s parents whisper in her ear, “lo dificil cuesta”-- difficult tasks require hard work-- and “échale ganas” -- go for it. She plans to live by these words and instill them in others as the Latinx community continues to grow and break barriers. 


Marieli was the recipient of the Latinas in Technology Scholarship through the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. Scholarships like these substantiate Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering Campaign priority focused on inclusive engineering, in which students from diverse backgrounds can learn to be successful engineers with all of their critical needs met, from tools to tuition. Supporting this initiative, including the School of Engineering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as well as Latinx Engineering Excellence Scholarship Funds, can ensure more incredible SCU students like Marieli have the access and opportunity to pursue their passions and dreams in STEM. 


May 8, 2021
Campaign, campnews