When Major Dreams Do Come True

From creating his own bioengineering curriculum to being able to declare it as a major, Mariano Alberto Utrera was steadfast in his pursuit.

For Mariano Alberto Utrera, it was like coming full circle when bioengineering was made into a major at NYU Abu Dhabi. The junior recently became one of three students who officially declared bioengineering major as their major.

Utrera was deciding what sciences to major in after graduating high school when a biology class assignment opened him to the world of bioengineering. “That’s when I realized I don’t have to choose between biology, chemistry or physics. There’s already a field that combines all three sciences into engineering — another field I was beginning to lean towards,” the NYUAD Class of 2022 student said.

Make Your Own Curriculum

Even though bioengineering was not yet offered as a major when Utrera first joined NYUAD, he was unfazed. 

The main factor that made me want to apply here is the liberal arts curriculum.

Mariano Alberto Utrera, NYUAD Class of 2022

Using the curriculum to his advantage, the Guatemalan was going to enrol as a general engineering major and minor in environmental studies. Utrera said the flexibility in the general engineering major allowed him to “pick and choose courses that would help me build my own version of a bioengineering curriculum.”

While having a certain flexibility and openness helped Utrera achieve his academic goals, he’s also shared some tips for those who are still navigating their options.

Tips on Navigating What Major or Course to Take

  1. Take time to look through all the courses available at NYUAD.
  2. Use your first year to explore different courses that the liberal arts curriculum allows you to.
  3. Keep an open mind. You may be set in doing a certain major but bear in mind that the University offers so much more. It will be a missed opportunity to not look into what else is available and perhaps discover new interests.
  4. Pick a course that you enjoy learning or doing — it does not have to be for academic or professional reasons. Do it because it’s fun to learn for you.