The minute I first stepped foot in a Disney park as a toddler, I was obsessed. Growing up, Walt Disney World was not just my family’s go-to vacation destination, but the inspiration behind my boundless creativity and vivid imagination. I was transfixed by the idea of telling stories through technology, and this instilled in me both a love of theatre and performing and a love of engineering. Inspired by the rides I saw in the parks, I spent many elementary school afternoons in my basement building elaborate “rides” starring my stuffed animals. As I grew up, I continued pursuing my love of storytelling, but also fell deeper in love with science and math, the hidden world behind my favorite rides. Recognizing that many of my friends had not had that “spark” to inspire them to pursue STEM careers and explore the breadth of career possibilities in those fields, I developed a passion in high school for STEM advocacy and began planning and running STEM exploration events, serving on STEM education boards, and even started a Society of Women Engineers chapter. This advocacy made me more persistent, driven, and ambitious as I saw my work yield results. I continued to take every opportunity there was to perform, telling stories not just on the traditional stage, but everywhere from the mock trial courtroom to the DECA boardroom. My performing background also helped me become a more effective STEM advocate, allowing me to captivate local middle schoolers as I spoke to them about my experiences as a NASA intern and giving me the confidence to speak about my work running STEM Career Exploration events to the regional STEM network.
I still hope to pursue a career in theme park design-- to invent new ways to tell immersive stories and bring a little more joy to the world through technology. I’m so excited to study mechanical engineering at the Cockrell School in order to gain the skills needed to pursue my dream. I’m also excited to study at a school that has so many great resources to empower and encourage more girls to pursue engineering, and I plan to continue my advocacy for increased gender parity in STEM and particularly engineering.
What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?
Coming from out of state, many friends and family members have asked me how I decided on UT. I was initially drawn to the university because of the strong engineering program situated within a larger university where I could explore my other interests. Forty Acres sealed the deal for me, allowing me not only the financial stability I sought during the uncertainty of COVID-19, but also providing a small group of driven, passionate, unique people to interact with. I was also drawn by the network of interesting and talented people the program provides access to, as well as the ability to study abroad with ease!