Carlos Trejo Perez 

Success is a moving target. By stepping out of your comfort zone you will be able to achieve more and ultimately become the best version of yourself. 

Carlos Trejo Perez Student Story Featured Image


Degree/Certificate & Class Year  
Associate of Science Engineering 


Mechanical Engineering 

Extracurriculars (E.G., Clubs, YVC Sports Teams) 
STEM Club, Phi Theta Kappa 

What three words would you use to describe YVC? 
Friendly, Encouraging, Caring 

What’s your favorite class? Why? How has it expanded your knowledge?  
My favorite class would have to be calculus II. This is due to the multitude of applications that the materials learned in this class can be applied to. In addition, this class was integral to understanding mathematical concepts in higher math courses. 

Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor? 
[STEM Director] Cristy Rasmussen, and [STEM Navigator] Vanessa Tucker are two people that have served as my mentors throughout my journey at YVC. Their unconditional support, and access to a plethora of resources, have facilitated the transition from high school to college. They definitely made my time at YVC more enjoyable and opened doors for me that I  wouldn’t have otherwise. I could wholeheartedly say that everyone at YVC acts as a mentor to students and assists in every way possible.   

What made you want to come to YVC? 
Prior to attending YVC, I was a student at the University of Washington. I soon realized that I was not prepared to go from a small, tight-knit community to attending a large university in a bigger city. When I decided to transfer, I looked into schools that not only offered an engineering program, but were also small enough to where I felt like I mattered. 

How did you decide on a major?  
Growing up, STEM never played a significant role in my life. With my parents working in agriculture and living significantly under the poverty line, I was never exposed to STEM programs or careers. My first encounter with engineering came from the robotics club in my high school. Although completely out of my comfort zone, viewing the mechanical components working as a whole to complete a task or the desired function fully captured my interest. Through this club, I was exposed to STEM programs that further fueled my interest. 

Are there any barriers that you’ve overcome to be successful at YVC? Please describe.  
My path to attending college has been far from perfect, oftentimes plagued with financial instability, and the troubles attached to being a part of an immigrant family. In addition, the transition from high school to college posed a significant barrier as classes become more difficult and you gain additional responsibilities. 

What do you like or find most interesting about your major?  
What I find the most intriguing about engineering is solving real-world issues through a systematic approach. Engineering is a discipline that is highly applicable, and this field has influence in a majority of our day to day lives. 

Where do you find your community on campus? 
My community within YVC is found at the STEM Club. This is because it is a community of individuals with a similar background, committed to academic excellence, and who seek to be leaders in their respective fields. 

What advice do you have for prospective students? 
The advice I would give to prospective students who are considering attending  YVC is to not be afraid of going outside your comfort zone. Being a first generation student, college can be very intimidating, which can often lead to complacency. Reaching outside of your comfort zone is critical during this time because it allows one to truly discover themselves. By challenging yourself, you begin to learn strengths and weaknesses that you may have not found otherwise. Success is a moving target. By stepping out of your comfort zone you will naturally be able to achieve more and ultimately become the best version of yourself. 

What’s your favorite spot on campus?  
My favorite spot on campus would have to be the STEM lounge inside Glen Anthon Hall. If I wasn’t in class, you could definitely find me in there studying or even just socializing with friends. 

How has Yakima Valley College changed you? 

YVC has not only changed me academically but also personally. Academically, YVC has allowed me to flourish in an extremely challenging field. With professors that not only enjoy teaching but also are willing to assist students in understanding material it is clear to see the staff want student success, and genuinely care about their students. On a personal level, YVC has allowed me to expand beyond my boundaries. Throughout  my time here, I have met an abundance of people and staff that have had a meaningful, positive impact on myself. There have been countless opportunities that I have taken due to this newly created support system that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I can truly say that YVC has had a deep and meaningful impact on my growth, and I wouldn’t trade my experience here for anything. 

How do you manage stress? 
My biggest method of managing stress has been staying organized. I make sure to add  all of my deadlines and events onto a calendar and check them off as I go. I have found that writing deadlines down has made me not feel overwhelmed. In addition, I make sure to schedule enough time to destress in my day-to-day schedule. 

What do you view is your biggest achievement at YVC? 
My biggest achievement at YVC has been interning at General Atomics in California for the Department of Energy. My focus was on optimizing a purpose-built plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition chamber to create aerogels for the purpose of inertial confinement fusion. The motive behind this was to address the unavoidable density differences that cause instabilities within hydrogen capsules. Simultaneously addressing engineering features that cause asymmetric plasma instabilities that make implosions less effective. Through the various improvements in metrology and implementation of device controls, we were able to minimize the variation of sample thickness from 100s to only 10s of micrometers. These advancements not only improved our desired outcome, but also aided in the search for successful fusion energy. 

Did you receive any financial aid or scholarship funding to attend YVC? If so, please describe how this helped you on your journey. 
I was fortunate enough to receive both financial aid and scholarship funding while attending YVC. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on my family. Prior to the pandemic my mother already had struggled financially supporting my whole family as she was our sole source of income. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, my siblings and I were forced to stay home while my mother went to work. Shortly after, she was forced to stop working due to my little sister testing positive for COVID. The fact that our only source of income was stopped put a huge financial stress on my family. I looked for employment to help my family, but because many businesses and public spaces shut down it made it impossible. My family struggled to find the money for the bills, groceries and transportation. During this period, there was an additional strain on income as my siblings and I had depended on free and reduced lunch provided by the school. Although most COVID restrictions have been lifted, my family is still trying to get back on our feet from the long-term effects of the pandemic. Scholarships and financial aid allowed me the ability to continue studying without the financial hardship on my family.   

What is your ultimate goal? Where would you like to end up?  
My current academic goal is to graduate from a university with a degree in mechanical engineering and possibly pursue a master’s degree. I plan to apply my knowledge to the aerospace field where I would contribute in expanding our knowledge of the universe. Eventually, I would like to contribute to the community that raised me, but most importantly, giving back to my family. As I continue to grow and expand my horizons, it is my farm-working family that continues to inspire and motivate me. 


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