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My Swat Story: Edna Olvera '21

Student wearing glasses stands in front of large telescope in observatory

Swarthmore Made Things Feel Personal

"When I first came to Swarthmore through DiscoSwat, I felt at peace finally, which I didn't expect because I'm not an emotional person. I didn't think I was going to have an emotional reaction to college and one of the things I remember most from that time was a faculty student lunch. There was one engineering professor at a table who asked me 'Who are you?' And I took that as an opportunity to list all of the skills I had as a budding engineer that would make me a great fit here. Then, he stopped me mid-sentence and said, 'No, no. Who are you? Where'd you come from? What's your family? Why are you here?' and it was the first time I really had a personal connection in terms of education. I felt more like a person than just a prospective engineer who was trying to impress the professor. "

She Wants to Know What's Out There

"I'm most interested in exoplanets and their formation. I sometimes encounter people who question why we should pursue space research if it doesn't affect our day-to-day life. Studying exoplanets has a lot of connotations for geology, geophysics, geomorphology, all of which are concerns for life here on Earth. Also, I'm not really someone who believes that we should go to other planets or travel to the next star. That's not necessarily what excites me about space; moreso, I think that there's an innate curiosity about wanting to know where we come from, how we got here, and how we formed."

She's No Stranger to Uncertainty

"When the recession happened, it was bad. It was bad for my family and absolutely terrible and horrifying to watch. My dad, who is in construction, is the only provider for our family and there was no work so he went through a really hard time mentally and emotionally. Seeing him experience that and then being able to get out of it and survive it has really made me look at all the uncertainty in my life and basically say, 'We will deal with it for now and keep moving forward.' No matter what, I still made it, I still went to college and now I'm about to get my degree."