Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Academic Interests History of Grace: Dat Engineering Lyfe

It’s time for a bit more personal blog post. This is going to be fun! Growing up with an older brother, I can look back on countless times which he influenced me (intentionally or not) to be cool and perhaps more of a tomboy. From liking spicy food and playing Halo 3 to building with LEGOS and being competitively athletic, my brother has influenced my life in many ways. Additionally, my father is an engineer and my mother a math teacher. Things were set up in my childhood for me to enter a STEM field, or at least be very interested in such things.

However, in high school I was determined to be a veterinarian. I started volunteering with animals, but also attending biology, science, and engineering camps and internships. Unsure of my career path, I applied to six different universities for six different majors (biological sciences, biomedical engineering, bioengineering, zoology, biology, and something else). When I got into University of Illinois for bioengineering, I kind of just went along with it because it was such an excellent program. I realized that there are infinite applications for bioengineering as a major, and I would be able to attain any of my goals with this degree.

Immediately, I got involved in various engineering organizations and began to feel like I was part of somewhere I belonged. Only in the past few years have I discovered my interests in prosthetics and orthotics. I am now seeking out that career – which will mean I’m not technically going to be working as an engineer. However, the way I see it, I’ll always be an engineer after making it through engineering at Illinois. I’ve seen my mindset for problem solving morph in the past three years. I have always had an artsy side, but engineering has enabled me to bring my dreams to life. 

Summer of 2011: At Packer Engineering, I investigated harvesting energy from plants.

I also built a pedal tractor pull to donate to the DuPage County Fair!

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