Building from the Ground Up – Experiences of The John L. Altieri 2023 Scholarship Recipient

Insights Altieri 2023 Scholarship Recipient
Written by 2023 Altieri Summer Intern, Maggie Mannella

Josselyn Paute is a recent graduate of Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, Connecticut. On June 8, 2023, she was presented with The John L. Altieri Memorial Scholarship. At BMHS, she was a talented student and leader with a “natural curiosity,” according to one of her teachers. She was an active member of quite a few school clubs including Book Club and Best Buddies and volunteered outside of school at a non-profit called Building One Community where she helped teach English to non-English speakers.

As last year’s scholarship winner and current Altieri summer intern, I was asked to interview Josselyn about her goal to become an engineer.

Most notably, Josselyn did not fail to credit her family for introducing her to her passion. When she was nine, her parents decided to build a house from the ground up and Josselyn talked about helping with some parts of the build! Being exposed to construction at such a young age sparked an interest, pushing her to explore different areas of design. Along the way, she stumbled upon engineering.

Josselyn talked about her personal qualities, interests, and coursework that have fed her passion for engineering: “I fell in love with it. I’ve always liked drawing and symmetry, so I knew this was for me.” She took various Project Lead The Way (PLTW) courses including Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering. In the Principles class, Josselyn was tasked with building a bridge out of papier mâché and cardboard. Her final design was able to hold 95lbs! Her success was a turning point; Josselyn learned that she could be creative and solve problems.

I asked Josselyn to offer a piece of advice to young girls who want to enter the STEM field. “Go for it. Don’t be scared to try new things. If you try new things, you might fall in love with them like I did.” As an immigrant from Ecuador, Josselyn faced numerous challenges in her STEM classes. She came to the United States in 2016 when she was 11, which was only 7 years ago! Although she is fluent in English, she constantly worries that she may not understand a concept due to language differences. However, this does not stop her. She says that girls should be persistent and keep trying even when things get difficult. “You might find your passion and it might be scary, but you have to try. If you don’t like it, then you’ve already tried and you know it’s not for you.”

Josselyn will be furthering her studies at Norwalk Community College for the next two years. After that, she plans to finish her degree at a four-year university. She is currently deciding between two kinds of engineering: civil and architectural.

Congratulations, Josselyn! You are truly inspiring and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.