Profile: Sirena Merfalen
Sirena Merfalen: Industrial Systems Engineering major and Mathematics minor
Sirena, a UW alum, was born and raised in Seattle, Washington by a Hawaiian mother and Guamanian father. Sirena is the first engineer in her family and hopes to further her education by attaining a masters degree and Ph.D. She was drawn to the Industrial Systems Engineering program because of her experiences growing up with her grandparents on the underdeveloped island of Guam where she was exposed to the inefficiency of Guam with little to no engineering systems in place. Recognizing this structure is where this interest to studying ISE originated, leaving her with the fascination to study techniques to improve the efficiency of systems and processes. She participated in undergraduate research where she assisted The Human Photonics Lab with the development of a 3D microscope for early cancer diagnosis and treatment, producing calibration test targets to make the 3D microscope more quantitative (both spatially and photometrically). As a UW undergrad she participated in two engineering organizations, SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) and WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) Advisory Board where she worked to inspire and serve the underrepresented minority studying in the STEM fields. Sirena was the President of SHPE and has served as the Activities Chair. She was also an active member of MIC (Micronesian Island Club), Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program, and Engineering Undergraduate Research Program (EURP). She worked as a Resident Advisor in Terry Hall for UW's Housing and Food Services and as a Network Operations Engineering Intern at CenturyLink (formerly known as Qwest) where she updated the mapping and archive system to make it more efficient and simpler by updating old hand drawn EFRAP maps. In response to what her main goal is, Sirena states, "My biggest professional goal is to make people's lives easier, no matter what industry it is (health care, communications, etc.); like those in Guam, where something as simple as access to an engineering system could be an everyday struggle."