Describe your research.
I worked on campus with an undergraduate-led research group in synthetic biology this past summer, iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines). It was an intense but incredibly rewarding experience. The goal was to genetically engineer E. coli bacteria to create a biological assembly line that would quickly produce an anti-fat or anti-cancer agent in large quantities. This semester I started researching how to model the chemical properties of bone marrow with gel scaffolds and have observed subsequent stem cell growth.
What impresses you most about the College?
I have been very impressed with the academic and career support services offered. There are services like CARE (an innovative library program), facilitated study groups offered by the Morrill Engineering Program, and Engineering Career Services. Plus, there is a network of departmental advisors and deans that offer advice on courses and career options. I have stopped into my advisor’s office many, many times to discuss everything from classes to summer options and have even gotten great advice from deans.
Who has been your favorite engineering professor?
Naomi Makins was a wonderful professor for Physics 212, Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism. Physics is not my forte, but she always held my attention in class through her energy and enthusiastic interaction with the class. Her use of demos and visual aids also really helped me understand a subject that was very foreign to me at the time.
What do you enjoy most about your major?
I love bioengineering because it is the perfect mix of the fascinating science of biology and the exciting innovations and technologies of engineering. I feel as though I am getting a great background in order to make a real impact on human health and well-being.
What is your advice to incoming freshmen?
Get involved early on and seek mentors! This applies to both academics and extra activities. In class ask questions and attend office hours. By doing this and forming relationships with your TAs and professors, not only will you set yourself up for academic success but you will also gain valuable connections to different departments and areas of research and expertise.
When getting involved in student organizations, don’t be afraid to seek leadership positions as a freshman (there are more opportunities than you might think!) Also, seek out older students who can help develop your leadership skills and can offer advice for your college experience.
How have you used Engineering Career Services?
I have used ECS several times in order to prepare for career fairs: had my résumé critiqued regularly, had a practice interview, and received advice on evaluating job offers and different summer program options.
What’s the coolest experience you’ve had in Engineering?
Engineering Open House (or EOH) is one of the most wonderful experiences I have had at Illinois! EOH is a giant science fair held by the entire college of engineering every spring. It features the best student projects, demos, and experiments from every engineering major and student group.
Last year I helped build model dorm rooms that were set on fire on the Bardeen Quad and filmed with a thermal camera! There was also a Tesla Coil concert, which was a completely unique, awesome experience!
What’s campus life like for an engineer?
You will be challenged by classes, and will need to study quite a bit and even use study groups or student tutoring. However, you’ll also be introduced to the actual work that engineers do in industry, which is very exciting and helps drive your desire to succeed. Of course, after studying you’ll have a great time going out on Green Street, catching a game, or just hanging out with your friends. Campus life is all about balancing school and leisure.
What has been your favorite place to live on campus?
Illinois Street Residence Hall (ISR)