Genevieve Burbano: Big Aspirations, Bigger Heart

Genevieve Burbano standing beside sagebrush in Nevada.
Jared Libby

Genevieve Burbano is acquiring her high school diploma through courses taken at TMCC and I-School this May, courtesy of an exceptionally worthwhile dual credit program we offer known as Jump Start! Jump Start grants you the ability to earn college and high school credits equally, giving you an edge over your studies and saving extra months you spend in an institution of higher education. Burbano got her foot out the gate early, and it’s been rewarding for her ever since.

This landmark is the dawn of another adventure and inducts a smooth transition to university. Burbano prepares for the latest chapter of her educational narrative, sights set on discovering what else she’s capable of at either Carnegie Mellon University or Washington University in St. Louis.

Burbano and her family would begin their journey to Reno, Nevada, at the young age of 13, their sights set on a promising future with an abundance of opportunity. Burbano hails from The Windy City, a.k.a. Chicago, Illinois, where their deep-dish pizza is famous for its decadent, gooey cheesiness in the hearts and minds of many across the country. They’d have to put this hallmark in their rear view, though, and grab a slice of life far tastier.

Growth and success are just a couple of the many enticing dimensions that frame a clean slate. A fresh locale would serve as a blank canvas with which to paint her ambitions upon, and she thought of no better place to do that than TMCC. Her story is only just beginning, and as the lines begin to take shape for what the image of her tomorrow will look like, she’s grateful for the road she’s traveled on to achieve this milestone in her life.

Go Forth and Set the World on Fire

Let’s travel back in time to Burbano’s sixth grade year, when the activities she took part in would impassion her greatly throughout the rest of her education. As a member of her first junior robotics team, Burbano actively ran their commercial outreach and marketing. She also played a key role in her local nonprofit organization, Team Incognito, shouldering similar enterprise efforts. FTC Team 11574 Incognito is a group of young women and men who absolutely love robots, winning the Nevada State Inspire Award and Robot Game Alliance contests multiple times. Something awoke within her in those moments while she was strategizing with her crew, and that’s when she knew: Business was her calling.

“I joined TMCC because I wanted to push myself, and I believed TMCC was the place to do that. TMCC has allowed me to dive deeply into the subjects in which I am interested. Especially through joining clubs and having those opportunities, relationships, and leadership positions. It’s enabled me to do more,” Burbano said.

Majoring in business, Burbano also finds herself very inclined to Engineering. In fact, she’s landed several consulting internships over the course of her schooling in precisely this field. GRW Consulting, a local firm in Carson City, seemed like an exceptional way to gain experience through their scope of engineering, architecture, and geospatial ventures. Spoiler alert: It was! This opened many career doors, and Burbano took advantage of it. A major position presented itself, courtesy of Dr. Kofi Poku, Business and Social Sciences Professor.

“I’ve been the president of Kofi’s Business and Entrepreneurship Club since my junior year. He’s taught me how to act in a leadership role, and how to take charge. As a high school student, running things for students who are older than you brings its challenges,” Burbano said.

Without difficulties, there’s no sense of immense satisfaction upon completing whatever trial it is you may be facing. It fuels the flame of our will to accomplish more, and identifying this as a chance to learn rather than succumb to fear has certainly instilled Burbano with confidence. Networking, community engagement, and recruiting guest speakers are all skills that have helped her grow tremendously. It just clicked, and her path became as clear as day.

The TMCC engineering department has impacted Burbano in considerable ways as well. The most enjoyable class for her this year has been ENGR 100, learning in an environment that encourages cooperative problem solving and peers to be your primary resource; especially with an all-girls group. Burbano has been thrilled with how the breadth of women in this trade continues to increase. With hopes of introducing a Society of Women Engineers Club on campus, Burbano partnered up with Anne Flesher, Dean of Math and Physical Sciences, and got to experience genuinely advocating for a noble pursuit.

“When we were founding the TMCC/SWE affiliate, Anne was just so encouraging and collaborative. Her commitment and approach have been inspiring to me, as I look more into engineering. She’s compassionate and dedicated to the TMCC and SWE communities, and seeing her express interest in everyone’s progress has really come full circle. I truly enjoy working with her. Having a woman leader in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) has been uplifting for me and all of the students,” Burbano said.

Burbano fused together all of the knowledge she had gleaned from colleagues and professors over her academic years, becoming the personification of her true talents; yet still, she desired to do more. To leave the world just a little better than she had found it, and make a dent in the universe.

Lightening the Burden of Others

Our existence matters, and no act of generosity, no matter how small, goes without merit. How do we express ourselves? What will people say about us when we’re gone? Little deeds of kindness go a long way, and prove that there’s a benign nature instilled in many of us. Burbano happily chose to apply this compassion in serving underprivileged youth with Team Incognito. She can’t imagine her life without the 2,500+ hours she’s shared as a mentor and teacher with others.

“Helping youth see their possibilities has energized them and transformed me. I’ve stood beside troubled children who were doubting their capabilities and worth. Supporting them to jump in and learn has created their bridge to understand profoundly and imagine their potential. I’ve witnessed parent-child relationships strengthened as parents watch their children present their accomplishments. Parents’ tears and kind words speak to a new beginning,” Burbano said.

The hands-on guidance Burbano provided would give them the courage to solidify their place in STEM, and extend that enthusiasm to their everyday classrooms. Fostering a team dynamic has given the adolescents, especially neurodiverse ones, a feeling of triumph. They understand the value of working together, and strive for more.

“Teaching has also helped me learn how to form strategic partnerships. I needed help to accomplish the results I envisioned. This pushed me to reach out to other like-minded organizations and individuals to combine our efforts for a common goal. I especially saw this as I worked with educational leaders to paint the picture of possibilities, and ultimately put robotics education in my county’s school system,” Burbano said.

TMCC instructors are excellent at assisting students in realizing their unique collection of skills, and Burbano has inherited the benefits of this inclusive principle. She’s taken her insight and committed it to the prosperity of the next generation.

“I’ve worked with thousands of youth to overcome their barriers to stronger self-efficacy. Gratefully, I’ve seen many transformations as these doubtful children learn technical and interpersonal skills. Shy youth gain confidence, neurologically diverse students engage, and underrepresented children are heard,” Burbano said.

With so many extraordinary works under her belt, we’re beyond excited about the mark Burbano will leave on this planet. Her thoughtful service is inspiring, and she’s only one of the many students here at TMCC who are capable of remarkable feats.

For more information, please visit the Business and Engineering websites.