Research is one of the most valuable opportunities in which engineering students can participate. Dalila Ricci, a Civil and Environmental Engineering major, shared her experience as an undergraduate research assistant in a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Princeton University. During the summer before her sophomore year, she worked with the Aerospace Engineering Department on the fabricating of a microfluidic spray that disintegrated drops to the microscale. Although she had no prior experience in this field, the post-docs on her team devoted ample time to teaching the scientific principles underlying the research. She was also exposed to different advanced technologies such as Scanning Electron Microscopy and expansive 3D printing.
Her major takeaways from the experience were the passion and patience required to invest in research projects. Her critical scientific thinking and observational skills were especially developed. Most importantly, the collaboration and application of skills across the various teams emphasized how critical a teamwork mindset is to success. In addition to being a tutor at the Undergraduate Learning Center and an officer with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Dalila’s REU experience greatly contributed to her skillset as an engineering student.
My name is Isioma Enwemnwa, and I am a junior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison studying Industrial Engineering. Outside of my studies, I am actively involved in a few different organizations across campus, most notably the National Society of Black Engineers where I have held multiple positions on the executive board over the past two years, including the Pre-College Initiative Chair. During my time as the Pre-College Initiative Chair, I spearheaded a partnership with Madison La Follette’s Critical M.A.S.S (Multicultural Advanced Science Students) club to help high school juniors and seniors in with their college search, teach them skills to succeed academically in college, and share what it’s like being a student of color studying STEM. After I graduate, I hope to continue to mentor young students and promote more minorities studying STEM majors, as well as try to improve the issue of the achievement gap between black students and their white counterparts that plagues the city of Madison.
The summer after my sophomore year, I was a research assistant for the Advanced Materials for Energy and Electronics Group at UW-Madison. Most recently, I finished a co-operative internship in the Global Research and Engineering Group at Kimberly-Clark Corporation in Neenah, Wisconsin. The co-op was a phenomenal experience as I had the opportunity to work with brilliant minds in various fields such as engineering, business and patent law. Most importantly, I worked on products that improve the lives of millions of people around the world. To broaden my experience in my field, I have accepted an engineering internship with G&W Electric Company for the next summer. Outside of school and work, I am currently an editor for the Wisconsin Engineer Magazine.
Among the many enjoyable aspects of college, the most delightful one has been the new student organization several engineering friends and I formed this past semester. Each of us in Queer and Trans Engineers (QTE for short, pronounced “cutie”) have had isolating experiences in the college of engineering as queer individuals, and we often face additional stress in our home lives. We determined that there was a need unmet in the college of engineering, and that we could do something about it by creating QTE. I believe we are paving the road for future engineers.
Explore some student organizations and groups