Berkeley, Calif. — When Ana Aceves was 12 years old, she sat on her parents' front porch in Merced, Calif., looked up into the night sky and had an "out-of-body experience." She saw herself on her porch, then her city, state, planet and finally the stars.
It was then she knew exactly what she wanted to do, says the now 23-year-old senior at the University of California, Berkeley. "I ran into the house and told my mom I wanted to be an astrologer," she explained with a loud chuckle.
"I think you mean an astronomer," her mother corrected.
Today, Aceves, the child of Mexican immigrants and the first in her family to attend college, is double majoring in astrophysics and media studies — the only student on this sprawling campus of some 30,000 undergraduates with that dual focus.
Thanks to a fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she is now using it to help to expand science programming for one of the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcasters, Univision.