Outstanding Collegiate Member

Yareni Lara-Rodríguez

University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

For transdisciplinary excellence embracing many STEM fields; for embodying creative and collaborative leadership; and for advancing Latino representation within SWE and the engineering profession.

Yareni Lara-Rodríguez holds a B.S. in manufacturing engineering and an M.S. in systems engineering from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL), Mexico, and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) department of mechanical engineering (INME). She is performing laboratory research at INME at UPRM toward a Ph.D. dissertation on biological cellular behavior under external stimulus for applications in wound healing. Her research results were presented at the 2020 Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Conference.

Lara-Rodríguez joined the Society of Women Engineers in 2018, and in 2022, she served as the first graduate committee lead for the University of Puerto Rico Collegiate Section, creating the base for continuing the graduate leadership pipeline in SWE-UPRM. Lara-Rodríguez’s commitment to an inclusive and diverse community on campus led her to serve as spokesperson for the international university community at UPRM in 2021 and as a content creator lead for the diversity and inclusion team of the GradSWE Community affinity group.

Lara-Rodríguez has served as an instructor of engineering courses such as Graphics Engineering and Introduction to Fluid Mechanics in the UPRM department of general engineering. She has also taught biosensor and biological geometric design courses and has served as a research assistant in the Biocompatible Materials Research Group at UANL. Her professional career also includes serving as a quality engineer in manufacturing processes for a biomedical devices company in Puerto Rico.

In 2020, she was awarded the SWE Motorola Solutions Foundation Scholarship toward completing her doctoral degree and a career development award from the Biomedical Engineering Society in recognition of her community service and academic achievements. That same year, she participated in the advanced track of SWE’s Leadership Development Program and SWE’s Collegiate Leadership Institute. In the virtual 2021 WE Local Buffalo and Des Moines Collegiate Competition, Lara-Rodríguez was selected as a finalist, and she presented her doctoral research during the virtual research presentations.

While serving as the Society’s community outreach lead for the SWE Latinos affinity group, Lara-Rodríguez’s efforts contributed to the group receiving the SWE Gold Mission Award in FY22. She has participated in several events as a mentor, speaker, and STEM role model in Puerto Rico and Mexico, encouraging more than 250 young girls to pursue STEM careers. Her service at UPRM includes participating in the SWE-UPRM outreach event as a co-lead for the “WOW! That’s Engineering” workshop and engaging middle school students in STEM projects such as building a hydraulic bridge. Lara-Rodríguez received the FY23 WE Local Guiding Star Award in 2022 for her academic contributions, service, and commitment.

She enjoys coloring, reading, baking, and journaling in her free time.