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Tomorrow’s Leaders Today: Fabiola Pérez Cervantes

By Kari Karina

Why does a little girl in a small town in Mexico reach for the stars? What brings this little girl to ask her parents on every birthday if she might have a telescope? And where does she find the strength, the determination, and the courage to pursue her dreams?

These questions arise in my mind as I listen to Fabiola Pérez, soon to graduate as a mechanical engineer, and an intern with BHTC Mexico, a German company manufacturing near San Miguel de Allende.

Fabi speaks of her life, her accomplishments, and her dreams with passion and clarity. It is my privilege to be her English tutor, through the scholarship organization Jóvenes Adelante.

The answers are found in the story of Fabi’s life. It is a story of a vision that is unique to Fabi.

It is a story of hard work and Fabi’s brave response to the challenging circumstances of her life.

And it is a beautiful story of individuals who have touched her life with support and encouragement.

As a child, Fabi knew economic hardship. Simple things, such as a movie tickets, were out of reach. “I knew then that it was important to be a powerful woman and independent, a professional,” Fabi said. “I knew the need to construct my own future. I wanted to travel, to see the world. And I had a desire to travel even farther, to explore the cosmos.”

Through intensive preparation, Fabi earned a place in a school called CBTIS 60 in San Miguel.

Here, Fabi studied mathematics, physics, and her greatest love, astronomy. Here, Mr. Ariel Zavala Belmont, a teacher, a civil engineer, a friend, and a mentor, was a great influence. “He told me that a career in astronomy was a good way to die hungry,” Fabi recounts with a smile, “but he also said that if you die happy, maybe dying hungry is okay!”

For Fabi, who carries responsibility for her parents who have been ill, “dying hungry” was not an option. She changed her goal to mechanical engineering because to her it is “the most complete and powerful engineering, in which all the parts of all the other types of engineering are seen.”

Graduating from CBTIS with an informatics technician degree, Fabi was forced by economics to delay her entry into the mechanical engineering program at Instituto Tecnologico Sanmiguelense de Estudios Superiores for one year while she worked to earn the money necessary to enroll. In December, Fabi will be a proud graduate of this program, the only woman in her class.

Fabi’s success has been supported by scholarships from Jovenes Adelante, La Biblioteca, and ITSES. Rita DeBrito, a mentor and friend, helped Fabi to access these scholarships. Fabi shares a special “thank you” to her Jovenes Adelante mentor, Tom Hammer, her ITSES instructors, and to her parents for their love and support.

In Fabi’s room in Los Rodríguez, there now stands a telescope—on loan from Rita DeBrito.

Make a difference with Jóvenes Adelante. For more information, see and contact President Robin Loving at, 152 3709 in San Miguel and 925 476 8117 from the US or Canada.


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