Kristen S.

$1,000 Engineering Scholarship Award Winner

With fifteen years of ballet under my belt, a love for weird indie-flicks, an unhealthy obsession with vintage-inspired knick-knacks, and a constant craving for homemade biscotti, I am a far-cry from the average aspiring engineer. But beneath layers of tulle, doughy hands, and a tightly wound ballet bun, is the steadfast desire to pursue engineering.

My dad always told me that I was destined to be an engineer. He told me that engineering ran through my veins; and in many ways, it did. Both my father and my grandfather are mechanical engineers. From an early age, my father surrounded me with engineering basics, subconsciously making me the engineer I always wanted to be. He taught me always to read directions and to look for simple solutions first. I remember watching him skillfully assembling my Barbie dream house after my fourth birthday, teaching me how to connect the bright pink parts.

My childhood, while outwardly defined by small pink slippers and dolls, flowed to the beat of the classic oldies my dad played on the radio. Planes, trains, and automobiles filled books that amassed in our home and the latest issues of Handyman and Popular Mechanics were always accessible. Years later, I see that basic engineering was everywhere in my childhood. It was present in the swing I spent hours playing on, the dance moves I performed, and the Easy-bake oven I once thought ran on magic. Science fairs and simple physics projects became large-scale undertakings in our home. They became thrilling challenges to surmount, rather than tedious projects to complete. Staying up late, my father and I rewired circuits, recorded data, and drew conclusions. Last Spring, what was intended to be a simple catapult for physics class became a six-foot tall killing machine, suitable for even the most realistic History Channel reenactments.

As I prepare for a career in engineering, I realize that I break the mold of the classic aspiring engineer. But inside, I’ve always known that it’s what I’m meant to be.

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