Pres. Becerra honored at alma mater for achievements in STEM, higher education

Pres. Becerra honored at alma mater for achievements in STEM, higher education


On March 12, Marymount University President Irma Becerra traveled to her alma mater, Florida International University (FIU), to participate in a series of events for the first-ever “Dr. Irma Becerra Day.” 

The day began with a fireside chat in which President Becerra spoke with FIU Society of Women Engineers members as part of their “Week of Women” series. President Becerra, the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from FIU, spoke about her experience overcoming challenges, particularly as a Hispanic woman, and growing through adversity into an empathetic and confident leader. 

“As a Latina and an immigrant, I’ve been able to break barriers — the number of college and university presidents who are Latinas is so low across the nation,” President Becerra. “These jobs are very demanding but I’m doing this for our children and grandchildren to make it easier for all of the Latinas that come after me, and open doors for other Latinas in the future.”

She also spoke on her experience as a female leader battling societal pressures and feelings of imposter syndrome. 

“We, as women, encounter unique barriers and challenges to fulfilling our full potential as female leaders. Our career journeys are complex as we face societal expectations, which can create feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt,” President Becerra said. “When I speak to women, I tell them that one of the most important things is having the experience necessary and being prepared to do the job. If you put the work in, you won’t feel like an imposter. In short — prepare, prepare, prepare, and persist, persist, persist — which speaks to being resilient and not giving up on your dreams.”

Pres. Becerra with members of the FIU Society of Women Engineers

The fireside chat was followed by a visit to the building site of the new FIU College of Engineering and Computing Center, which is set to be completed in 2024.

The day concluded with a special reception hosted by FIU President Dr. Kenneth Jessell, as President Becerra had the opportunity to meet students, faculty, members of the FIU board and members of the FIU Society of Women Engineers. 

“Our primary focus was to celebrate her legacy at FIU while allowing the students to engage, learn and appreciate the magnitude of her accomplishments and life’s journey,” said Dorean Williams, Director of Development for the FIU Foundation. “The students, former students, colleagues, administrators and all she encountered were happy to see her and honored to be in her presence.”

President Becerra was overwhelmed by the support from FIU students, faculty and staff, and spoke of her hopes for the futures of both Marymount and FIU. 

“I was beyond moved by this recognition from my beloved alma mater. FIU holds a special place in my heart and brought so many opportunities for growth,” President Becerra said. “It was my home for many years, helping lay the foundation for my journey as a leader. I am so delighted to see how FIU continues to thrive and look forward to potential collaboration opportunities between Marymount and FIU in the future. I am sincerely grateful to President Jessell and the esteemed faculty, distinguished guests and cherished friends who made this event so special.”