Valentina Waters, an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide Campus Engineering senior, believes in helping others, and she sees science as a way to magnify her efforts.
“Helping others is what ‘makes the world go ‘round,’” she said. “So why not do it in a smart way that uses technology?”Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Waters grew up with 11 siblings and parents who reinforced the importance of looking out for one another. Today, she tries to translate that lesson through circuitry and wiring, hoping to craft designs that might one day change the world.
“My mother was a nurse anesthetist and my father a mechanic,” she said. “Perhaps, combining both fields is somewhere in my blood.”
In 2005, Waters moved to the United Kingdom and broke into the field of Information Technology. Six years later, she relocated to California, where she married a U.S. Marine and began her pursuit of a chemical engineering degree. That led to an internship in 2013 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she was part of a team that designed and constructed a test unit that observed the behavior of fluids in microgravity. In 2016, she moved again, this time to Okinawa, Japan, where she enrolled in online courses through Embry-Riddle Worldwide.
“After completing my degree, I would love to work in robotics, or even biomedical engineering with a focus on robotics,” she said. “My dream would be to develop something that improves the lives of those less fortunate.”
According to her instructors, she is well on her way to achieving that goal.
I would love to work in robotics, or even biomedical engineering with a focus on robotics. My dream would be to develop something that improves the lives of those less fortunate.
“Valentina is simply the best student I have ever had,” said Dr. Yuetong Lin, associate professor of Engineering and Technology. “In her first engineering course, she discovered a serious technical error in the textbook. For most of us, we would simply accept what the book gives us, but Valentina not only checked the details but also recognized that numbers were different from what she had seen in her physics book. To this day, it still amazes me how she did it.”
Dr. Taan ElAli, chair of the Bachelor of Science in Engineering program, for whom Waters works as a teacher’s aide, agrees.
"Valentina is a very motivated and diligent student,” he said. “She is currently helping me with a lab course on circuits, and her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn is infectious. She constantly encourages other students to explore and ask more questions. Valentina is truly a blessing to work with."
After graduation, Waters said she is considering continuing on to pursue a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. In the future, she would love to join a chapter of Engineers Without Borders to further help those in need.
“I like to understand how things work and why,” Waters said. “Solving problems with practical solutions — that’s how to make an impact.”This week, Embry-Riddle celebrates National Engineers Week by showcasing women in engineering and the creative, collaborative engineering efforts that can change the world.