Editor’s Note — This Q&A is the first in a weekly conversation series that is celebrating Pride Month on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Medium page. The series will feature Huskers who are making impacts on campus and look to maintain that momentum in future careers.
You’re a three-time member of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team. Talk about the importance of giving back to the community and leadership for you.
In the past four years, I’ve learned the importance of giving back to my community, especially here in Nebraska. For me, this is one of the ways that I show gratitude for all the support and the opportunities that this community provides me each year. I would not be here without that. I think leading by example is the most effective way to see change. That is why I try my best to always seek involvement opportunities and share my knowledge with other student-athletes, here at Nebraska. Giving back to the community has helped me grow as a student, athlete and person.
Being a student-athlete at Nebraska provides a big platform. Why is being a positive role model so important?
Representing this university on and off the tennis court is a constant commitment. Many Nebraskans support and respect UNL Athletics, meaning we have to act with great integrity. People know who you are and that you attend UNL, every time you wear the N. Therefore, being a positive role model is correlated with the values of our tennis program, athletic department and school.
You’ve been working on Husker STEM VR as a developer for your senior design project. Can you talk a bit about that project and what it’s been like to get some of that hands-on experience?
Working on Husker STEM VR my last year of college has been such an amazing opportunity. It is essentially an app for outreach/recruitment for the College of Engineering. We show a little bit of each major this college has to offer, through multiplatform activities. I’ve had the chance to work with a group of talented people and an amazing sponsor, Professor Jeffrey Falkinburg. It was also my first time using Unity, a cross-platform game engine, and I greatly enjoyed the process of learning. I had to put in many hours each week, meeting with the group and sponsor, but it was totally worth it. I gained a lot of experience in a field I’ve never worked in and got confidence working on a “real setting” project.
Talk a bit about being a woman in engineering.
Every time I say I’m majoring in engineering, the first question I get asked is how many other girls are in my class, especially being in computer engineering. The answer is always “not too many, maybe me and a few others.” It is a little sad to be one of the few girls in this major, but it is also empowering. I like to think that maybe some young girls will be inspired by this and consider working in STEM fields. Unfortunately, I do encounter sexist and stereotypical comments from some male counterparts, from time to time. Because this is a field largely dominated by men, I think it is important that awareness is spread, in order to limit these interactions for the future women in STEM.
Is there anything you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
I hope to leave a mark everywhere I go. I like to give my best in everything I do, help as many people as I can, and make people smile. I plan to have a great influence on the software industry, and I am working hard to make that happen.
What or who inspires you?
I think my main source of inspiration is my family. Both my parents have worked so hard to help me get where I am today. They made a huge effort when I was growing up, so I could reach my dream of playing tennis in a professional setting. I owe everything to them and to my siblings. My two brothers and my sister are older than me and great role models, so I’ve always looked up to them as well. My family and my partner always inspire me to be better, and I try to make them proud with everything I do.
What is your advice to other students looking to make an impact on campus?
My advice to students with a desire to leave an impact is to get involved as much as possible. It can be joining clubs, attending events on campus, and even talk to people in your classes and make friends. You will make an impact on campus if you make an impact on people first.