An SDSU Electrical Engineering Family

Senior Danny Tisnado looks forward to commencement - where fellow SDSU freshman engineering student, brother Miguel, and his alumna mother Janet 99, will be cheering him on.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Janet (left), Danny, and Miguel Tisnado stand outside of the Engineering building. (Melinda Sevilla/SDSU)
Janet (left), Danny, and Miguel Tisnado stand outside of the Engineering building. (Melinda Sevilla/SDSU)

As the children of SDSU Engineering alumna Janet (Garcia) Tisnado (‘99), Danny and Miguel Tisnado knew what they wanted to do from an early age. 

Growing up, Janet’s father, an “unofficial engineer,” encouraged and pushed his three kids to pursue a college education. Though he wasn’t an engineer by credential, “he was always great at math and finding things to build,” she said.

It worked. Janet joined the MESA Program (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program, formerly MEP) in high school, then joined the MESA and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) programs while an electrical engineering student at SDSU.

She became the first female engineering graduate in the family and has been an engineer at Qualcomm for almost 20 years. In the process, she inspired her sons to follow similar paths. 

Next Generation

Fast forward over two decades: eldest son Danny graduates this Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, where he’ll be cheered on by both his mother and brother Miguel, who has completed his first year as an electrical engineering student. This marks the end of their last time overlapping schools since elementary school in their South Bay neighborhood of San Diego.

“It feels full circle,” recounted proud brother Miguel.

Danny, a self-proclaimed introvert, blossomed during his undergraduate career by studying abroad at SDSU’s Georgia campus, Instructional Technology Services (ITS), and working as an academic mentor on campus.

Danny and his brother both say they owe their smooth start at SDSU due to both participating in the CSU Louis Stokes Alliance For Minority Participation (CSU-LSAMP) program.

Through the CSU-LSAMP program, both Danny and Miguel took part in an introductory precalculus course workshop during the summer before their first years at SDSU. 

“Besides reinforcing math topics, we also learned about research and internship opportunities and even graduate school,” said Miguel. “It’s a built-in support system right off the bat.”

RELATED: SDSU’s Top 10 Degrees Among 2023 Graduates

One staff member has been able to see all three Tisnados through their academic careers at SDSU: Thelma Chavez, CSU-LSAMP Program Coordinator.

“It has been such a pleasure to work with the Tisnado family, from first meeting Janet as a first-generation college student in the MESA program and then years later being able to work with her son Danny and now Miguel via our CSU-LSAMP program,” said Chavez. “To have not one but three family members come through engineering is really a testament to their family's dedication to higher education,” she said. 

The parallels continue: Danny and his mother have both taken classes from engineering professors Allen Plotkin and Ramon Betancourt. “It’s kind of like finding a long lost family,” said Danny of the connections he and his brother have when they meet campus community members who also worked with their mother. 

Through it all, the Tisnados have been able to support one another through challenging courses and through Janet’s advice to them to work hard. “I’m just so glad they listened. Even though they have fun, they also care about their studies and take care of what’s important,” said Janet.

“But my mom deserves the credit,” said Danny of his mom’s unwavering support.

RELATED: Life After Graduation Pro Tip: Stay Connected with SDSU’s Career Services

Danny’s immediate next steps include accepting a position in Texas in the electric car industry, where he will be close to his wife, air force member Urua. “She has been my greatest support over the past couple of years,” he said. “I’m ready for the next chapter.”

Miguel has benefited from his older brother showing the way for him: as a first-year student, he has already served on a panel for SDSU SHPE’s local high school conference and represented SDSU at San Diego’s STEM Festival at Petco Park.

“I’m definitely going to cry,” said Miguel about this Saturday’s commencement ceremony. “I’m so proud of Danny.”

But Danny says although he’s proud of all he’s accomplished through his decorated SDSU career, extrovert Miguel is the one to look out for: “My brother is going to pass me in every aspect. I’m excited to see how far he goes.”

And that’s not even including Ivan, their 10-year-old brother. “He already says he’s going to go to SDSU too,” Janet laughs. 

About SDSU College of Engineering

The college delivers a broad-spectrum, world-class engineering education, combined with practical research experience. All departments in the College are in the Top 25 for generating engineering workforce in the US. The College now occupies six buildings across campus with expansion planned in the newly acquired Mission Valley campus. In the last six years, over 60% of the faculty are new hires and research award dollars have tripled. The college has earned 9 NSF CAREER Awards in the last two years. SDSU Engineering is dedicated to innovative education, discovery, and dissemination of knowledge.

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