Adriana Delagarza

Adriana Delagarza is a Mexicana from San Antonio, Texas, who plans to study Mechanical Engineering at Columbia with a focus on Sustainable Engineering. Her father was born in Acuña, Coahuila, in Mexico, and her mom’s family is from Chihuahua. She went to Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Helotes, Texas, where she was introduced to the severity of the climate crisis and the violent need for more accessible and sustainable technology.

Through the Independent Study Mentorship class at her high school, Adriana conducted research on Jupiter’s background radiation with Dr. Frederic Allegrini, a researcher at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, in order to determine the radiation’s confinement within its magnetic field.

Adriana’s research paper involved the superimposition of a map of Jupiter’s radiation environment upon its magnetic field using real data from the Juno mission, which is currently in orbit around Jupiter. She used the background noise due to radiation from one of Juno’s instruments, the Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE), to assess the location of Jupiter’s radiation belts. She and Dr. Allegrini showed that the radiation is organized by the magnetic field, and it is strongest near the planet and in the equatorial region.

During this experience, Adriana also learned more about the origins of Jupiter’s radiation and how its properties can allow scientists to better understand the radiation surrounding Earth. She became especially interested in Dyson sphere technology and the ability to use the radiation around planets to power electronics on Earth, which would be a more sustainable alternative to the consumption of non-renewable resources for energy.

She served as the President of her high school’s Environmental Club, where she led efforts across campus to collect recyclable materials and drive students to be more environmentally conscious.

Adriana was also the President of her high school’s chapter of the Math Honor Society, where she organized a student-led, virtual math tutoring program that was designed to accommodate each student’s schedule and learning style. She also created and launched the chapter’s very first monthly newsletter, sin(the times), which featured STEM articles written by Math Honor Society members and spotlights on graduating seniors and their plans for the future. Adriana arranged for STEM professionals to speak at their monthly meetings to encourage STEM conversation and talk about how they use math in their daily lives.

She also founded the Meditative Study Club at her high school, where she was able to help students relieve stress and study more effectively by engaging in meditation and other forms of mindfulness.

Adriana aims to normalize accessible and affordable creativity-focused STEM education and mental health maintenance for marginalized communities as well as educate current and future generations about environmental priorities.