College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Rebecca Patush: Engineering commencement student marshal

Rebecca Patush
Rebecca Patush


Joliet, Illinois 

Clubs and activities 

Most of my club involvement has been with Material Advantage. I’ve been a member since my freshmen year, and I served as both president and outreach chair of Material Advantage. MA has given me opportunities to meet materials engineers in the industry, travel to academic conferences, give back to my community, and grow closer to the people in my major. I work as an research assistant, teaching assistant, and do research under an MSE faculty member. I have also been involved in the Honors Program, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Project Team, and intramural volleyball. 

Valuable hands-on learning in class 

My senior design project has been a valuable experience. My team and I are carrying out an impactful project, and it has been exciting to collaborate with a sponsor outside of our department. This project has taken a lot of time, work, and dedication thus far, but I am excited about the end product that my team will present. 

Out-of-the-classroom engineering experience 

I completed a co-op with Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which was my first experience actually working as an engineer. I was mentored by two ISU MSE alumni who prioritized my growth as an engineer and as a person. Through this position, I gained an immense amount of perspective and was able to better understand who I want to be as a materials engineer. 

Most influential mentor 

MSE professor Alina Kirillova welcomed me into her lab and has served as an incredible and influential mentor of mine. She gives me and her graduate students great independence in the lab yet still offers strong support and guidance. Being a part of her research group has greatly increased my sense of belonging in the MSE department. Dr. Kirillova has helped me choose my path after graduation, and her research group is the thing I will miss most when I graduate. 

Greatest accomplishment 

My greatest accomplishment at ISU has been how involved I’ve gotten with the university. This has allowed me to have incredible experiences and opportunities and meet amazing people. I feel so at home in both the MSE department and the Department of Residence. I’ve immersed myself in my academics and extracurriculars, and I still prioritize having a good time – like at Iowa State sporting events. 

Plans after graduation 

After graduation, I plan to complete a second co-op or travel to New Zealand before pursuing my master’s degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Utah. 

Making my mark on the world 

I’m looking to leave my mark on the world by creating and improving medical supplies that are used regularly in healthcare. I hope to contribute new strides to the field of biomaterials to improve medicine. 

Engineering like a Cyclone Engineer 

Engineers hold a huge amount of responsibility in taking their work seriously and practicing ethical engineering. That’s true everywhere. Cyclone Engineers prioritize quality work and finding a way to have a great time doing it. Iowa State engineering faculty has taught me how fun it can be to be an engineer.