Anita Moreno

“Your program really helped me to realize that I was still able to do the same quality of work as I did before the aneurysm and brain surgery.”

Anita Moreno
Anita Moreno Anita Moreno

Sara Sezun | MIT OpenCourseWare

Back in 2008, Anita Moreno was majoring in mechanical engineering at San Francisco State University (SFSU). In her junior year, when Moreno had a 3.9 Grade Point Average and was contemplating a career in prosthetic design and robotics, she had a brain aneurysm. Fortunately, brain surgery treated her condition, so she returned to classes only 90 days after the operation.

Despite the surgery’s success, Moreno was able to sleep only two or three hours per night after the aneurysm. On occasion, she would stay awake for two, or even three, days without any sleep at all. Because this lack of sleep started affecting Moreno’s grades, she decided “to take a step back and get my life back in order and solve my sleep issues.” Due to budget cuts at SFSU, Moreno also lost her scholarship at this time, and moved to Nevada to live with her parents.

While trying to ameliorate her sleep deprivation, Moreno wanted “to keep my calculus, physics, thermodynamics, etc., fresh in my mind, and to be quite frank, make sure it was just the lack of sleep that was making these subjects difficult that first semester (after the operation) that I went back to school.”

Moreno found OCW by surfing the Internet, and studied Single Variable Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, Differential Equations, Fluid Dynamics, and Physics. She says, “I found that retaking classes I had already taken, such as calculus, only sharpened my skills and left me [with] a much deeper grasp on the subject. I have really loved just listening to the lectures late at night when I am having trouble sleeping.”

"I cannot emphasize enough how this site has boosted my confidence, that I am still able to comprehend and succeed in an engineering program.”

Anita Moreno

Moreno currently lives in Carson City, Nevada. Along with maintaining her knowledge of mechanical engineering, she serves as Director of the Lyon County Community Computer Centers (located in western Nevada). Established by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), an initiative of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the six centers were created to provide computer access to the underserved communities of Lyon County.

Moreno describes the centers’ objective: “The centers service the schools during the day and are available to the community at large in the evenings and on weekends.” She also manages special programs for children. “We are utilizing our Video Conferencing System to allow 30 children at a time to attend virtual field trips, such as trips to museums in New York and Chicago, science adventures at the Challenger Center, and joining scientists on live dinosaur digs…”

Besides studying OCW for her own enrichment, Moreno encourages students at the computer centers to use it. She has “steered the Boys and Girls Club to the section geared toward high school students.” She also recommends OCW to students that she tutors. She says, “I have found that your algebra and calculus classes are very accessible to high school students… Sometimes they just need to see another full lecture on the subject, because they feel they did not grasp it the first time around in the classroom.”

In January 2015, Moreno will begin attending classes at the University of Nevada, Reno to finish her degree. Afterwards, she intends to “work as a mechanical engineer in Nevada, while still attending to my aging parents’ needs.”

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