Local mother beats adversity, graduates with Ph.D. in electrical engineering

After years of hurdles, one local mother has reached her goal of becoming an electrical engineer. 

“I thought it was just a dream,” said Lilian Casias, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Electrical Engineering at UNM. 

For her, graduation is a milestone. 

“I’ve been dreaming about this day for 33 years,” said Casias. 

Since she was a young girl in Mexico, she’s always dreamed of becoming an electrical engineer. 

“My dad has always been involved in electronics, the original spark started from him,” said Casias. 

Saturday, that dream has become a reality. While the road to success wasn’t easy, Lilian says she never let the obstacles she faced, make her lose sight of her biggest goal to make her parents proud. 

“Parents came into this country to try and make a better future for me and my sister,” said Casias. 

Her citizenship status was one of those hurdles. Before becoming a DACA recipient, she was forced to turn down opportunities like a job at Goldman Sachs. 

“I said the opportunity will come in time so I declined it, I moved on and I started working at a retail store to try to pay my masters,” said Casias. 

She has since become a naturalized citizen, a mom and now, she’ll become a doctor. 

“Now I fully understand why I went through that because now that I walk today in graduation, it’ll feel a lot better than if I had just gone through a straight line,” said Casias. 

She hopes she can be an inspiration, not only to her son but also young women of similar backgrounds. 

“Search for a better future, but keep focus,” said Casias. 

She recently accepted a job as a full-time engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory and hopes to inspire more kids to follow in her footsteps by continuing her volunteer work with the Hispanic Engineering and Science Organization. 

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