What Advice Might You Have for Students?

Manavi Chatterjee:

Never fear trying out something that is new to you. Always accept the challenge because the outcomes can really be the most wonderful thing that we ever experienced.

Rajeev Erramilli:

No two people’s experiences are going to be the same, so don’t try to obsess over whether you’ve gotten all your details lined up right. Instead, focus on figuring out what you enjoy doing and how you can keep doing that. Be your own person, and be proud of it! Your worth is not defined by your grades or your research output, and the only worth that matters is your self-worth.

Rowan Palmer:

    1. What is a one sentence message you would leave to a younger audience who is interested in pursuing a career in STEM but feels unsure of their decision?
      Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not for you; everyone has struggled, whether they express it or not. And always take a moment to step back and reflect not just on where you are and what you’ve created, but on how far you’ve come and the process you’ve taken to get there. Engineering isn’t about knowing the answers, but finding and creating them. You deserve that same grace for yourself. 
    2. If you could go back in time and give a piece of advice to your first-year self what would it be?
      ASK FOR HELP and share how you’re feeling. You aren’t alone in your struggles, and other people share similar stories. If you’re willing to speak up and have those conversations, you’ll help yourself and your peers.
    3. If you had one thing you would want to share with underrepresented students, what would be your message and why?
      Not being represented in our fields can leave us feeling the need to change ourselves to fit in (like, for me, toning down my girliness and fashion choices to feel like I fit more into the “boys club” of engineering). Whatever you love, in STEM and outside of it, is valid. You can be an accomplished engineer or scientist and also love art or theater or sports or writing or cooking or fashion or whatever else. You can be more than just your profession.

      Secondly, never underestimate the value of mentors and peers that you identify with. When you find someone, ask for help; share your story and listen to theirs. It can truly change the way that you view yourself and your opportunities.