“Developing the Engineering Ambassadors Network into the group that it is now is a contribution to the community that I am most proud of. I also hope that some of the K-12 students we work with will choose to pursue engineering and see it as a career that is attainable to them regardless of their ethnicity, gender or current experience.”
Major: Civil engineering
Hometown: Monticello, Iowa
Clubs and activities: I am one of two student directors for the Engineering Ambassadors Network, a group of engineering students on campus. Our group creates and presents TED-style presentations to K-12 audiences and engages students with a related activity. We focus on fun aspects of engineering like electricity, boats and structures so that every student we interact with has the opportunity to know what engineering really is. We also provide professional development to our ambassadors by hosting workshops, bringing in speakers, and practicing presentation skills.
I am also a member of the AISC Steel Bridge Club. This year, I have taken the role of design chair and with the help of the entire design team, modeled and analyzed a bridge for our competition. The 24-foot bridge is made entirely from steel and is fabricated by students in our club. We compete in categories such as construction time, deflection, and weight. Outside of clubs, I attend St. Thomas Acquinas church and accompany a group of college women in their Catholic faith.
Valuable hands-on learning experiences: The Engineering Ambassadors Network and AISC Steel Bridge Club have helped me to develop strong leadership skills. These groups have allowed me to step beyond my comfort zone into situations I’ve never been in with the team to achieve the goals we set.
As a student director of Engineering Ambassadors Network, I have also had the opportunity to present and talk to a variety of people, from second graders to faculty at Iowa State. I am improving my ability to lead based on the goal of the group. For a second grader working on an activity such as a building a boat from tin foil, they need more space to be creative and execute multiple iterations as they are creating their project, so I base my interaction from this. In Steel Bridge meetings, when I am working with the design team, I need to have an in-depth understanding of basic structural concepts to help younger members understand topics they may not have learned in class yet. Working in teams has pushed me to strengthen my leadership skills by observing other strong leaders.
Contributions to the Cyclone Engineering community: Developing the Engineering Ambassadors Network into the group that it is now is a contribution to the community that I am most proud of. At our meetings and on school visits, I am able to see the relationships that have been built and the learning that occurred by both our ambassadors and the students we visit. The group includes multiple disciplines of engineering so it is fun to interact with students from all across the college. I’ve learned a lot about the work of mechanical and aerospace engineers and spent lots of time sharing with those friends about civil engineering.
I hope that as the group continues to grow, more students are able to build lasting friendships with students outside their engineering discipline. I also hope that some of the K-12 students will choose to pursue engineering and see it as a career that is attainable to them regardless of their ethnicity, gender or current experience. Of course, a leader is nothing without a group to lead – and both groups I am involved in have great members who contribute to these accomplishments.
Making my mark on the world: I’ve had great advisors and professors at Iowa State who helped me achieve my own specific goals, and I hope that I can be the same type of person for younger engineers. As an engineer, I may never work on the biggest, most complex projects, but being a reliable, knowledgeable and friendly employee or peer is the way I would like to be remembered.
Engineering like a Cyclone Engineer: Everyone loves Iowa State and they love it more when you’re an engineer from Iowa State. In just a few days I will become a Cyclone Engineer as I graduate with my undergraduate degree in civil engineering and start work as an entry level structural engineer. My path was easily personalized with the clubs and classes that I was most interested in. These activities set me apart and have given me the opportunity to develop skills I’ll need in the workplace.