Dec. 30, 2019 — When the time came for Argali Moctezuma to graduate from Northside ISD’s Brandeis High School, she knew she wanted math and problem solving to be a part of her future.
“I’m from Mexico and English is my second language, so math has always been easier for me because it’s the same language,” Moctezuma said.
This is why the first-generation college student just recently completed her undergraduate degree, earning her bachelor of science in electrical engineering.
Originally from Puebla, Mexico, Moctezuma and her mother moved when she was a child to California, where she attended a bilingual elementary school and had to learn a new language. Shortly afterward, they moved to Texas for Moctezuma’s middle school years.
While things weren’t easy for the mother and daughter growing up, Moctezuma said the idea to pursue higher education was inspired by her mom.
“My mom was a hardworking single mother for a long time while raising me,” she said. “The whole transition moving from Mexico and coming to the United States was a lot for us. She always encouraged me to go to school and do my best.”
At UTSA, Moctezuma was a member of the Society of Women Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi, and Eta Kappa Nu, a computer and electrical engineering honor society.
She also was the recipient of the E. Eugene Carter Scholarship, a College of Engineering tutor and served as a college ambassador. Being a college ambassador led her involvement in community outreach, volunteering at on-campus events and working with high school robotics teams.
Getting the youth involved and inspired by the STEM field is something Moctezuma has worked on doing since attending UTSA.
Together with a group of her colleagues, Moctezuma helped construct an exhibit for The DoSeum using skills they learned in their engineering courses.
Their project, “Tuned In, Tuned In,” is an interactive exhibit that will teach children about the science of sound waves while completing challenges to become a master spy. It will be installed at the children’s interactive museum in 2020.
The project is a part of the College of Engineering’s EPICS program. EPICS allows students from all academic levels to form multiyear, multidisciplinary teams that partner with the San Antonio community in experiential service-learning projects.
“It was really exciting to get that experience and present our ideas to The DoSeum staff,” Moctezuma said. “We did several prototypes and took feedback to improve our project.”
Encouraging young people, especially young girls, is important to her, Moctezuma said.
One moment that really stuck out to her was when a female high school student came up to her and was inspired by Moctezuma’s story after hearing her speak on a women in STEM panel.
In the new year Moctezuma will begin working full-time at Freese and Nichols, where she interned working on their water and wastewater electrical design. Freese and Nichols is a consulting firm that offers services in engineering, architecture, environmental science, planning, construction science and program management.