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Cornell Engineering student Lauren

Meet Lauren

Cornell Engineering student LaurenMajor: mechanical engineering
Hometown: Briarcliff Manor, NY

Why did you choose Cornell University and/or Cornell Engineering? 
I chose Cornell University because I knew that I would be surrounded by people (both students and professors) who would challenge me and teach me new things as I navigated life on campus.

What is your favorite thing about Cornell Engineering?
Project teams! I am part of Cornell Concrete Canoe and it has been the highlight of my Cornell experience so far. It is a perfect way to apply concepts from classes and learn brand new things alongside a group of passionate, talented engineers.

How do you get involved outside the classroom?
Outside the classroom, as mentioned, I am one of the leads of the mold subteam on the Cornell Concrete Canoe project team. I also hold an on-campus job as a Fitness Monitor for Cornell Fitness Centers, am a member of Track and Field Club and Circle K, and am the Treasurer of Cornell’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Cornell Engineering student Ashley

Meet Ashley

Cornell Engineering student AshleyMajor: mechanical engineering
Hometown: Syracuse, NY

Why did you choose Cornell Engineering?
They have an amazing amount of resources and it was a chance to network.

What inspires you the most at Cornell Engineering?
Meeting my peer and upperclassmen. My TAs have been great and their passion bleeds over.

How do you get involved outside the classroom?
I attend community events and reach out to professors and TAs outside of classes.

What advice do you have for other first-generation college students as they begin their college journey?
I think the most important thing is to establish connections first- with peers, family, etc. Make sure you have someone you can talk to.

How did you learn about the resources available at Cornell? 
I learned about the resources available at Cornell through EOP HEOP, my professors, and my friends. EOP HEOP made me aware of the LSC (Learning Strategies Center) and ELI (Engineering Learning Initiatives) programs, and my physics professors announced before each class that there was free physics tutoring nearly every day at the LSC. When I reached out to my EOP HEOP advisor for additional academic help, she also referred me to more personal tutoring at LSC OADI tutoring. I heard of the MSC (Math Support Center) for math from my friends; that also has free tutoring almost every day.

Which resources have you found to be most helpful, and why?
I definitely think the free tutoring at the LSC and the MSC was the most beneficial because it was available almost anytime. Although sometimes you would have to wait for other students’ turns, usually there were multiple tutors so you could break off into a private one-on-one session with a tutor.

Cornell Engineering student Sean

Meet Sean

Cornell Engineering student SeanMajor: mechanical engineering
Hometown: Lake Grove, NY

Why did you choose Cornell University and/or Cornell Engineering?
Cornell Engineering has always stuck out in my mind as a school that cares not only about the depth of study and complexity within engineering, but also the practical side of engineering. You’ll find students—on the same day—working at a lab discovering previously unknown fundamental laws of turbulence and then walking into the ELL to go mill a chunk of steel in a homemade vice. As an engineering student at Cornell, you learn both theory and practice, and can uniquely balance the two depending on your interests.

I’ve always thought of Cornell as a school where you can always move around, always discover new aspects of your favorite subjects, always discover new subjects which spark your interest and lead to a lifelong curiosity, and that’s absolutely been true throughout my time here. To any aspiring engineers who might be unsure of the journey that lies ahead, you’re going to do great! Even if your path has lots of twists and turns, the most important lesson that Cornell Engineering can ever teach you is figuring out what kind of life you want to lead; the more unsure your journey is, the more you learn about yourself by the end of it! That’s why I discovered my love for medicine, and how I realized I could incorporate it into my love of engineering through biomedical robotics and emergency medicine. Engineering has helped me discover who I am and who I want to be, and that’s all I could’ve hoped for when looking for a great school.

What is your favorite thing about Cornell Engineering?
By far my most valuable experience out of Cornell Engineering has been my work on my project team, Cornell Mars Rover. If you’re really into something in engineering—maybe it’s rockets, maybe it’s sustainability, or maybe it’s even building a bike that moves all by itself—chances are, you’ll find a project team for it. It’s the perfect environment to tinker around with a group that feels like family. Through the resources provided by the project team space, I’ve been able to deeply explore my own interests in dynamics and robotics by spearheading the design of a deployable camera system on the rover. I was allowed the creative freedom to explore and develop nearly every part of the design, from mounting, to dynamics, to stress analysis, to even the manufacturing plan. Project teams allow you to not only have an amazing group of supportive peers from all walks of life and all fields of study, but also a sandbox for which you can pursue your own interests as a part of a larger project. Alongside my work on the team, I’ve had help from some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, all of which I’m glad to call my friends today! When you finally get to see all of your work from engineering classes come to life right in front of your eyes, there’s nothing quite like it!

How do you get involved outside the classroom?
I volunteer as an EMT for Cornell University Emergency Medical Service. Most people think of EMTs as being all pre-health students or biology majors, but in reality, studying engineering has given me amazing insight into how to problem solve on the fly and help determine what might be causing a patient’s emergency. Cornell Engineering doesn’t simply provide rote textbook material, to the contrary, engineering provides you with an entirely new way of thinking that you can use to positively impact your life in nearly all aspects! From learning how to communicate clearly between members of a close-knit team, to getting into the nitty-gritty details of deriving complex problems back to their core meanings, engineering has equipped me to develop a deep understanding of pre-hospital emergency medicine. When you learn to think like an engineer, that’s something that you’ll always have with you, no matter what situation or specific field of study you find yourself in. Your education as an engineer will extend beyond simply “learning” engineering. Rather, engineering will become a part of you, and you can use that part of you in any way you see fit. That’s the beauty of it!

Cornell Engineering student Jahnavi

Meet Jahnavi

Cornell Engineering student JahnaviMajor: mechanical engineering
Hometown: Dublin, Ireland

Why did you choose Cornell University and/or Cornell Engineering?
I chose Cornell Engineering because of the vast opportunities it had to offer to develop hands-on skills and become a better engineer. I felt that I could get involved in anything in any field and truly find a way to pursue my interests.

What is your favorite thing about Cornell Engineering?
My favorite thing about Cornell are the people I’ve met. I’ve never been in a more open-minded or welcoming community and everyone here is always willing to help you achieve your full potential whether it’s friends, classmates or some of the amazing professors that teach here.

How do you get involved outside the classroom?
I’m part of CU GeoData, a project team that collects and analyses climate data around the Cayuga Lake region. I also work as an Academic Excellence Workshop (AEW) facilitator for Math 1920. I’m a member of the Big Red Marching Band where I play clarinet and generally have a good time!

A photograph of Cornell Engineering student Temesgen

Meet Temesgen

A photograph of Cornell Engineering student TemesgenMajor: mechanical engineering
Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Why did you choose Cornell and/or Cornell Engineering?
I choose Cornell Engineering because that was the only place I got into! In hindsight, I feel pretty blessed to have had the opportunity to be a Cornellian. It has pushed me both academically and socially. It has not only broadened by view of the world but also I find that my lens can be narrowed down to things I want to focus on.

What is your favorite thing about Cornell Engineering?
The people are definitely my favorite thing about Cornell. The people are so awesome; they’ve made me, a self-proclaimed introvert, social. Cornell has also given me the chance to meet professors who have ended up being amazing mentors.

How do you get involved outside the classroom?
Along with a few friends, I was able to work on a seminar to introduce high school students in Ethiopia to the benefits of robotics and AI. Additionally, I am also involved in research with Professor Ruina on improving motor response while taking into account backlash and friction.

How was your experience adjusting to Cornell?
It was hard but also exciting. There were lots of assumptions I had about people that were not accurate and coming here really gave me an opportunity to come out of my bubble and interact with people that had different backgrounds from me.

Meet Kenny

A photo of Cornell Engineering student KennethMajor: mechanical engineering
Hometown: Palo Alto, CA

Why did you choose Cornell Engineering?
The project teams: My passion for engineering came out of the four years I spent as a part of my high school’s FIRST Robotics Competition team. Finding an engineering competition team like that in college became a priority for me, and Cornell Engineering’s project teams immediately stood out. If there is a type of vehicle you can think of, there is a project team for it at Cornell: racecars, drones, boats, rockets, submarines, and even hyperloop pods. I ended up joining the Baja SAE Racing team which builds an off-road buggy from the ground up every year to race in three intercollegiate competitions all around the United States. I was able to jump right into the machine shop and by the time we won the 4-hour endurance race that season in Kansas, there were parts on the car that I could proudly say that I had made. I learned countless skills from upperclassmen mentors as the list of designs I owned grew to include an engine dynamometer, wheel hubs, driveshafts, and eventually our fully custom V-belt continuously variable transmission. I love the hard-working, go get ‘em spirit of the team: bonding over late nights troubleshooting FEA models in the Swanson computer lab and early Saturday mornings running the CNC mills in the Emerson machine shop. There is something magical about the combination of competition, collaboration, and community in the project team experience that has brought out the best in me as an engineer, teammate, and leader. Being a part of Baja has given me some of my best friends, mentors, and memories at Cornell so far.

What is your favorite thing about Cornell Engineering?
My favorite thing about Cornell Engineering would have to be the motivation, competitiveness, and inspiration in all of my peers. In group projects or on my project team when hard technical obstacles are encountered, there is always unspoken consensus to stay up late and exhaust resources. It’s a group that understands results matter but that success can only come out of hard work, collaboration, and intermediate failures.

What do you do outside of the classroom?
My main involvement outside of the classroom is being on the Baja SAE Racing project team. I’m involved in designing the driveline components of the car and my proudest achievement so far is designing a custom continuously variable transmission. This year I’m one of the Team Leads and am hoping to learn valuable leadership skills while also focusing on on-car data acquisition and testing for load case validations.

Photo of Cornell Engineering student Harleen

Meet Harleen

Photo of Cornell Engineering student HarleenMajor: mechanical engineering
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Why you choose Cornell Engineering?
I chose Cornell Engineering because I felt that students here learned by working together. This sense of collaboration, along with world-renowned professors, interesting classes, and cutting-edge technology is what I felt set Cornell Engineering apart.

What is your favorite thing about Cornell Engineering?
My favorite thing about Cornell Engineering is the people, from my peers to the professors. Everyone here is always willing to help me whenever I need, whether it is in office hours or sitting in Duffield Atrium.

What do you do outside of the classroom?
Outside of the classroom, I participate in the Society of Women Engineers and am a part of a cultural club called CSSA. In addition, some semesters I work as an undergraduate TA.

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