Meet The Titleholder – Miss New Mexico USA

Kristen Leyva

Miss New Mexico USA 2018

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Kristen Leyva

Kristen Leyva was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She was raised in a single parent house hold
with her mom and sister. The three of them enjoyed doing everything together and referred to
themselves as “The Three Musketeers”. Growing up Kristen excelled in mathematics and enjoyed
challenging her problem-solving skills. She also had a persistent curiosity that one time got her in
trouble with her mother when she decided to take apart the family’s computer to see how it worked.
After seeing Kristen’s curiosity and passion for science, her mom decided to take Kristen to work with
her. At the time her mother was working as a mechanical engineer for NASA. On this particular day her
mom’s team was launching the Crew Escape Vehicle for the International Space Station. After seeing
what a rockstar her mom was that day and what an amazing feeling it was to be a part of history, Kristen
decided she wanted to be an engineer. In December 2016, Kristen graduated from New Mexico State
University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. However, her mom and very woman
who inspired her to get the degree she had just obtained, was not able to be in the audience on that
special day. She had suddenly passed away just two short months before. In that loss, Kristen realized
what an incredible role model and inspiration her mother was for her and decided she too wanted to be
that one person for kids all over the state. She began visiting schools across the state of New Mexico,
mentoring students to give them the same opportunity that was she was given by her mother. The
opportunity not only to fall in love with engineering but also to have someone who believes in them.
Kristen is now working as a mechanical engineer contracted by the United States Department of
Defense all while pursuing her Masters Degree in Industrial Engineering at New Mexico State University
and utilizing her position as an engineer to travel to elementary and middle schools in her community to
inspire and encourage young kids, especially young girls, to peruse opportunities and careers in the
STEM field.