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Marco Palma, President

Bienvenidos todos y todas! My name is Marco Palma and I am the President of MAES @ ASU this year. I am currently a junior studying Physics after switching over from Mechanical Engineering this past summer. I was born in Nogales, AZ and grew up in Tucson for most of my life. I have been a part of MAES since I got here in Fall ‘15 and last year I was the treasurer for MAES. MAES has helped me develop into a determined leader and into an overall better person through the MAES Leadership Academy, National Symposiums, and various other events held by our local chapter. I am also an active member in SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers). We will actually be merging with SHPE in the Spring semester and I’m hoping that our combined efforts will be able to provide more opportunities for Hispanics and Latinos alike in STEM. I am an avid hiker, gamer (Xbox), and sports enthusiast. I am heavily involved in intramural sports at ASU playing flag football, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and softball. I was even on the winning team my Freshman year for men’s dodgeball. I am excited to be your President and feel free to come talk to me or contact me as I hope to get to know all of you this year.

Kayla Tapia, Vice President

Hi everyone! My name is Kayla Tapia and I’m a junior majoring in Computer Science! I enjoy learning about art history and going to museums! I spend a lot of my free time participating in clubs like MAES, SHPE, and EWB, but I also like to dance, hike, and volunteer (like with the Si Se Puede Foundation).  I grew up in Tucson, AZ and when I came to ASU I didn’t know a lot of people. I joined MAES my first semester freshman year because I felt like I had found a community that cared about me and supported me. MAES helped connect me to the opportunities available to me to be successful in my career and in school. I even got an interview for what would be my first internship during the MAES National Conference during my freshman year! Starting your career can be intimidating and I’m so happy I’ve had the MAES familia by my side to encourage me along the way.

Juan Carlos Oliva, Treasurer

Greetings everyone, I am a junior in Electrical Engineering. I have lived in California, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Arizona. You can almost always catch me at the ASU Salsa club socials. I also work at the Fulton School’s Outreach Department while also consistently volunteering with the Si Se Puede Foundation on Saturday mornings and volunteer throughout ASU as much as I can. I am excited to tackle on the position of Treasurer so I can help us all attend National Symposium and fund socials that will help bring our familia that much closer. If you ever want to volunteer, dance, or simply need someone to talk to, contact me at!

 Oscar Ramos, Secretary

Hola Familia! My name is Oscar Ramos and I was born in North Carolina. I was raised here in Phoenix, so I consider it my home. I am a senior at ASU and my major is biochemistry. I represent the ‘science’ part in MAES, and as secretary, it is my goal to balance out the engineering and science focus of this club. So for those of you science majors in this club, welcome! And be sure that there will be something for you here. This is the main reason why I joined MAES- because I know collaboration between all of the STEM fields is what will allow us to propel forward in society.

I volunteer my time in advocating for science at a local public school here in the Valley. I help kids become interested in science through various hands-on experiments. In addition, I’m also involved in other clubs like ASBMB and AMSA. In my spare time, I enjoy watching my favorite anime (Naruto and Boruto), going out to dance, jogging, and traveling. So far, I have been to Brazil, Mexico, and Canada! Learning languages are a passion of mine, I speak English,Spanish, Portuguese, and currently learning French!

Elena Gomez, Academic Director

I am a sophomore in Biomedical Engineering here at ASU. I’m from Tucson, AZ and came  to Tempe to get away from the heat. Every Saturday you’ll find me volunteering with the Si Se Puede Foundation helping kids learn robotics. Besides MAES, I am also involved with SHPE and SWE. For fun I like to go out dancing or just stay inside and binge watch Netflix. I highly recommend going to the SHPE and MAES National Conferences because they provide great internship and job opportunities. The school you miss will be worth it. Plus it’s another great way to connect more with your fellow members! You can catch me falling off my longboard on campus and if you see me, feel free to say hi! I’ll be sure to say hi back!

Nikki Lopez, Outreach Director

Hello! I am a junior in Mechanical Engineering, and am originally from Phoenix, Arizona. I enjoy hiking, road trips, late night coffee shops with a good book, and documentaries. My interest in engineering branched off my love for Disney Imagineering and watching the “special features” of movies. On campus, I slowly built up the courage to be more involved by attending meetings in Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), MAV (Mechanical – Autonomous Vehicles Club), and MAES (Latinos in Science and Engineering). MAES ultimately gave me the small community I needed and helped me develop my professional leadership skills by sending me to the SHPE National Conference. I also am a peer mentor in Tooker House and create programs for students focusing on their academics so they can be successful their first semesters starting an engineering degree.I enjoy reaching out to students and advocating STEM back into my community. Please feel free to ask me any questions (! I am super excited to start this new year!

Kiara Pelestor, Communications Officer

Hi everyone!! My name is Kiara Pelestor (left) and I’m a sophomore. I started my freshman year as a first-generation student in mechanical engineering but am currently majoring in mathematics for secondary education (woo math!). I consider myself an extroverted introvert. I love learning (thus, why I switched to education), jamming out to my music, reading (when I make time lol), hanging out with my family/friends, and more!

I got into MAES after a good friend told me about it last fall and encouraged me to join to make new friends, improve my network and networking skills, and so on – areas I wanted to improve in – so I decided to start going to the meetings. Funny story though…my “first meeting” was actually an e-board meeting…I didn’t know general ones were every other week, so I accidentally dropped in with Starbucks and ended up awkwardly sitting through it anyway. You would think I’d have been too embarrassed to go back (which was almost the case), but I found that the people were great and provided a super friendly and supportive environment. So I kept going back and I’m really glad I did!

Unique Ratliff, Web Master

Hi! I’m currently a sophomore in Computer Science (Software Engineering) and am from Tucson, AZ. I joined MAES and some other organizations last year as a freshman and had a great time getting involved around campus. I love traveling, programming, reading autobiographies, and listening to new music. I started learning about computer science in high school and am lucky to have communities at ASU (like MAES!) to help me pursue my passions.