Our students come to us from all areas of the United States and from all over the world. Often while growing up, they were the ones who liked to take things apart, build new inventions or who were absorbed by math and science. In deciding to come to Penn Engineering, they have joined a diverse world of students and faculty all poised to engineer the future. Take a look below at our spotlighted students to learn why we attract the best and brightest of the engineering field.
Mallory Jensen, Class of 2010, Mechanical Engineering
Mallory comes from Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City. She is very involved in the MEAM department and conducts research projects in the labs of her professors. In coming from the Midwest, she was looking at schools with both strong engineering programs and strong arts and sciences programs, since she was still slightly undecided on a major. Penn met this requirement, along with her desire to come to the East Coast. Mallory grew up with a petroleum engineer for a father, so she was able to nurture and talk about her interests in physics and math and later discovered that engineering would be a good fit for her. In thinking of what she most likes about Mechanical Engineering, she says, "Most of what we study you can see happening everywhere around you!"
Reuben Latigo, Class of 2011, Mechanical EngineeringReuben was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, the son of Ugandan parents. He came to Penn because of the institution's high standards for education and because there is always something to get involved in, from athletics to the arts, and there is never a dull moment on campus. Reuben is the coach of Penn's co-ed field hockey team. He feels that Philadelphia is also a great city to live in and explore on the "slower" days. He decided to become an engineer because he "loves how things work." "Since I was a kid," he says, "I've loved taking things apart and trying to put them back together again. I also enjoy problem solving so engineering was the natural choice. I can't see myself in another Major!" As far as his favorite thing in Mechanical Engineering? The wind tunnel. "It's located in the deepest, darkest corner in the basement of the Towne Building, but I love it. I can't quite explain it, but it's like playing with a toy for the first time every time."
Rekha Jois, Class of 2011, Mechanical Engineering
Rekha comes to Penn from London, England. After being asked why she decided to come all the way to Penn, she replies, "I chose Penn for many different reasons, the primary of which is that I really wanted to study some combination of nanotechnology and robotics, and I had heard about the amount of work that Penn was putting into expanding research on the subject. Secondarily, when I came college touring, Penn just seemed like the happiest and most comfortable place that I'd visited, and I felt absolutely drawn to it!" As a high school student, she loved math and science, and also participated in a high school robotics competition that made her want to do more with actual applications of math, particularly in robotics/mechanical engineering. Her favorite thing about Mechanical Engineering is that it is so hands-on. "In the three years I've been here," she says, "I've built a Stirling engine, a robot that can play hockey (three of them!), a bike made entirely out of paper, have done vibrational analysis on the Millennium Bridge (from my hometown!), worked in a research lab, and so much more. MEAM at Penn really gives so many opportunities for really applying all the classroom knowledge to the outside world, which I think is one of the best things I could really get out of my education."
Nora Ayanian, PhD Candidate, Mechanical Engineering
Nora grew up right here in Philadelphia. After completing her undergraduate work at Drexel University, she decided to do her PhD here at Penn Engineering. According to Nora, she chose Penn "because of the GRASP Lab, an interdisciplinary robotics lab composed of people from many departments collaborating on projects in the same room. This excited me, since it fosters cross-pollination of ideas which would not normally occur in department-specific labs. I had wanted a geographical change, but it turned out the best place for me was in my backyard." Nora wanted to pursue mechanical engineering because it is, in her opinion, the broadest of engineering disciplines, which would leave her with the most options upon graduation. When asked about her favorite aspect of engineering, she replies, "Engineering is the ultimate adaptable discipline: whenever there is something missing in the market, be it a service or product, engineers possess the problem solving skills to come up with a solution to fill the void."
Jack Franklin, PhD Candidate, Mechanical Engineering
Jack comes from the state of Oklahoma, in which he lived in several places growing up. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where he earned his bachelor's in Engineering Physics. When asked why he decided to come to Penn, he gives two reasons. "Personally I picked Penn because I loved the city of Philadelphia," he says, "It has a great art, music, and food scene and the town offers all the benefits of a large east coast city without making you feel lost in a concrete jungle. Professionally I picked Penn because of the research quality interdisciplinary work achieved here. My advisor Dr. Lukes had a project using lasers and heat transfer coefficients to detect voids in materials that closely matched my research experience and goals from OU. I have since moved on to a new project but I have stayed with Penn and my advisor and I have never looked back."
As far as why he chose mechanical engineering? "I was the kid who had the vast Lego collection and the best gifts were always kits to build little robots. Mechanical engineering is just a good excuse to continue having fun exploring the world around me and finding out how it all fits together. It lets me combine my background of math and physics as well. Oddly enough mechanical engineering for me is also a bit existential - to define who I am I must also define the world I exist within. The applied nature of mechanical engineering has always served me well in that quest." And his favorite aspect of engineering? "My favorite aspect of engineering honestly is that there is no negative aspect of engineering. I get to work on problems that interest me using skills and knowledge from such a wide range of science. I get to work with a diverse group of people and I can travel to attractive places around the world to do it. On top of that an engineering job is highly respected and well paid. Why wouldn't I want to be an engineer?"
Pedro Augusto Alves Correa , MSE Program, Mechanical Engineering
Pedro comes to Penn from his home city of Brasilia, Brazil. He did his undergraduate work at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and decided to come to Penn for the opportunity for an excellent education with "many opportunities for developing careers and working with professors on cutting-edge research." Pedro decided to become a mechanical engineer after realizing that his undergraduate degree in physics and mathematics was more theoretical than hands-on and that he desired an application-focused degree. His favorite aspect of engineering as a discipline is that it is "non-theoretical and involves many practical applications of learned concepts."