Jacqueline Castellanos


Jacqueline Castellanos

The Power to Change People’s Lives

“Growing up, I did not know anyone who had attended college,” said Jacqueline Castellanos. The first in her family to attend college, she joined the Adelante program for guidance and support, and helped others through the Sister to Sister Mentoring Program. “As a mentor, I was able to make a difference in young girls’ lives by helping them understand that a college education is within their grasp.”

Jacqueline focused on Computer Science and Engineering, which excites her “because it has the power to change people’s lives.” She immersed herself in SMC’s STEM program to help master STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

She participated in the 2018 UCLA/SMC Summer Scholars Research Program and the Bruins‐in‐Genomics (B.I.G.) Summer Program, analyzing data to study the adaptive immune repertoire. In the 2019 NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Maximizing Student Potential in STEM (MSP) program, she helped develop a tool to study the relationship between mosquito abundance and remote sensing variables. In Base 11’s Aerospace Mentorship Program and Caltech’s WAVE Fellows Program in summer 2020, she developed a Python‐based spacecraft swarm simulator to test Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) algorithms. In 2021, Dr. Lior Pachter invited Jacqueline to Caltech’s Visiting Undergraduate Research Program (VURP), where she evaluated a machine learning algorithm’s ability to predict proteins.

Jacqueline graduates from Santa Monica College with four Associate degrees — Computer Science, Mathematics, Liberal Arts – Social and Behavioral Science, and General Science — and a Certificate of Achievement in Computer Science. She plans to transfer to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering, followed by a Master’s and a Ph.D.