First-Gen Spotlight: Valeria Barra

Valeria Barra (she/her/hers) is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder. She received her PhD in Applied Mathematics in 2018 from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Her research interests are centered on Numerical Methods for Scientific Computing. If you would like to connect with Valeria, follow her on Twitter @ValeriaVally21!

  1. Where do you call home? I’m from Italy 🇮🇹 but moved to the US at 25 years of age.
  2. What is a quote that you live by? To infinity and beyond! — Buzz Lightyear
  3. What do you see yourself doing in the future? Research faculty
  4. If you could switch fields/careers, what field/career would you want to work in/have?* SciComm, especially for young children
  5. What frustrates you the most about academia? The publish or perish paradigm and grant-based promotions
  6. What are three things you can’t live without?* Math, family, water
  7. What message do you hope your research conveys to the public? Through computers we can do things that we can’t do in real life and this allows discovery and innovation. But you can’t trust anything that comes out of your computer. You need to know how to assess errors to know if the answer to your problem is any good.
  8. Who do you do this for? For myself, for the entire world, for the future generations
  9. What is your proudest moment (so far)?* Landing my dream internship at Pixar
  10. What is one piece of advice you would give to other first-gen students? Never give up. You may lack support from the community or the system, but every hurdle makes you stronger 💪🏻.

*borrowed from the 46 Questions blog!

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