A Day in the Life

School of Engineering & Applied Science undergraduate students are driven to improve society while they explore personal development. Our students learn, grow and lead inside and outside the classroom through rigorous studies, research and design projects with faculty, international trips, community engagement, student organizations and sports teams, entrepreneurial activities and more. What follows is a look at a day in the lives of eight very different Engineering undergraduate students who make our school unique and special.
Nick walks though the Danforth Campus with other students as part of the #blacklivesmatter movement.

Nick Okafor

Mechanical Engineering and Sustainable Development

Any given weekday reflects my studies, where I could be in any combination of my mechanical design, public health, architecture or Portuguese classes. Despite being a primary engineering major, I’ve been able to take classes in three out of the four schools WashU offers (I hope to take a course on social entrepreneurship before I graduate).

WashU students participated in protests on campus this fall in response to the events that took place in Ferguson, Mo., last summer.

Past my classes, WashU keeps me busy, to say the least. With administrative support, I’ve been able to launch my own student group, TESLA, which initiates after-school clubs at local middle schools to boost minority and female interest in STEM. I also try my best to stay civically engaged (I’m a 2016 Civic Scholar), so I join my friends in Students in Solidarity in various protests and displays to fight for the #blacklivesmatter movement and other causes supporting marginalized populations. By the end of the day, I’m tired, but I’m lucky to be able to return to Ruby 1, where I’m a Residential Advisor for the best floor on the South 40.

In addition to volunteering on campus, Tony Wang helps young adults in the St. Louis area earn their GEDs.

Tony Wang

Biomedical Engineering

The multidisciplinary nature of the biomedical engineering major at WashU is like none other; my daily schedule may involve going to quantitative physiology, electrical circuits lab, sociology and jazz music. After class, I am able to go to the medical campus to work with a research mentor studying a specific pathway that may help cure cancer.

Ananya Benegal says she enjoys the "truly collaborative environment, not only between the students, but among all members of the community" at WashU.

Ananya Benegal

Biomedical Engineering
Minors: Anthropology, Global Health and Environment

I do research in Professor Phil Bayly’s lab in the Mechanical Engineering department, and today will be especially exciting because we have visitors!
I am a Langsdorf Scholar and am in the James M. McKelvey Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, which provides programming and mentoring to undergraduate students who are participating in research. Today, the freshman McKelvey Scholars will be coming to tour Dr. Bayly’s lab. I showed them a really cool demo involving strawberry Jell-O, sprinkles and a strobe light, then headed back upstairs to finish the mechanical tests I was running.

Deko Ricketts

Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering

In mind, body and character, WashU has changed my life. Here, I am more than a student in pursuit of an electrical engineering degree. As an 800- (meter) runner, working with Coach (Jeff) Stiles has redefined my view of success, and I look to his definition in all walks of life. His culture carried me to All-American, but what it has done for me off the track is monumental in comparison.

“WashU teaches us not to wait for it, but to ride toward it. The culture, the type of student that WashU creates, the professors’ belief that we as students will change the world — the aura in these walls is intoxicating.”

The Associate Provost at WashU, Dr. (Dedric) Carter, challenged me to be innovative, entrepreneurial and collaborative during my time at WashU. Working with Professor (Parag) Banerjee last year, I tasted innovation, researching novel methods for third-generation solar cells. I took Dr. Carter’s challenge head on this year, developing a small startup company with a few colleagues to design an interactive volumetric display that, if indeed possible, could blur the barrier between reality and the digital world. The WashU environment fundamentally fosters greatness at every level, in every person that walks across the Quad.

Taylor Blevin (right) says working in a research lab on campus gives her a first-hand look at what is involved in the research process and allows her to expand her learning in the classroom on a level she would likely not be exposed to as an undergraduate student.

Taylor Blevin

Chemical Engineering and Economics
Minor: Energy Engineering

My involvement with student groups on campus has also allowed me to apply my skills to give back to the St. Louis community. I am currently a program leader for VERDE (Volunteers for Environmental Restoration, Development, and Education), a community service group affiliated with the Campus Y. I visit a local elementary school once a week with other volunteers to teach about environmental science and environmental issues.

Mindy Borovsky is not only an ITA Scholar Athlete, but is the director of academics for her sorority, volunteers in the AMOS (Archive of Many Scenes) Lab, participates in the Deloitte Consulting mentoring program and is involved in the Young President’s Organization Next Generation.

Mindy Borovsky

Computer Science
Minor: Math

A typical day would start early with a 6:30 a.m. tennis practice followed by two morning classes, lunch with my Alpha Phi sisters, a stop in the library for some homework before my last class of the day, a quick dinner, a meeting for one of my activities, some additional time devoted to homework, and then catching up with friends. It is a juggling act, but I couldn’t be happier!

In addition to engineering math and finance classes, Alex Blustein has studied French, Athenian court structures and psychology as electives.

Alex Blustein

Systems Engineering & Finance

Through a new WashU program, the Israel Summer Business Academy, I was able to work and study abroad in Tel Aviv, where I was a student consultant for FieldIn, an agriculture technology startup that provides real-time farming solutions. It was a unique experience I will never forget. Last semester, I was fortunate enough to work as the campus ambassador for Anheuser-Busch InBev, where I helped promote the Global Management Trainee Program. I have been amazed at the wealth of professional opportunities so early on in my WashU career.

Olivia Sutton studies art and biomedical physics in addition to biomedical engineering in preparation for medical school.

Olivia Sutton

Biomedical Engineering
Minors: Art, Biomedical Physics

My first destination: the art school for a meeting with Professor Jamie Adams, a renowned painter and anatomist, and my independent study professor who is helping me learn medical illustration. He critiques my work for the week — detailed studies of the vertebrae — and assigns me to investigate the skull for next week’s independent study project.

My friends and I meet at Seoul Taco, a St. Louis must, and a Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant on Delmar Loop, the eclectic, historic street that sits conveniently barely off campus! I’m vegetarian, so I go for the tofu burrito. My boyfriend picks the bulgogi (beef) bowl.