The Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics department is proud to feature students and other community members in Women in STEM Wednesday. This week we take a look into the life of Hancock local Audrey Levanen, a third-year student studying Mechanical Engineering.
WHAT ORIGINALLY INTERESTED YOU IN STEM?
As a local kid, I had so many opportunities to engage with STEM, most of which were associated with MTU. In elementary school, I always looked forward to Family Science Night – my whole family would come to school and do fun activities (who doesn’t want to dissect owl pellets?!). I think the first time I started seriously thinking about STEM as a career was in 8th grade. A bunch of my classmates and I were excused from school for a day to go to GetWISE (Women In Science and Engineering), a women in STEM event hosted at Tech. The main event was a bridge building competition (my team didn’t win), but the entire day was a lot of fun.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TECH?
I chose Tech because it was close to home and it offered the degree I was initially looking for (engineering management) while most of the other places I was looking at did not.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT TECH?
Other than the people, one thing I really like about Tech is that there’s a way for everyone to get involved on campus with activities they enjoy. There’s over 200 student organizations on campus, which made finding a group of people with common interests a breeze. I do local K-12 STEM outreach with Engineering Ambassadors, which is a way for me to share with young students some of the STEM experiences I got as a local. I’ve found a supportive community in the Society of Women Engineers, and an enthusiastic crowd of climbers through Ridge Roamers.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL?
I enjoy a lot of physical activities like hiking, rock climbing, paddlesports, XC skiing and snowshoeing. I also read quite a bit (I prefer memoirs, personal & professional development, and other nonfiction works, but I’ll read pretty much anything), and I have a lot of houseplants.
FAVORITE PLACE IN THE AREA?
I really like Freda, but anywhere on the shoreline is a good place to be!
HOW HAS TECH IMPACTED YOUR VIEW OF STEM?
“STEM” covers a vast range of areas and opportunities. One of the biggest impacts MTU has had on my view of STEM is how collaborative it is. Perhaps I’m biased, since I can really only speak from the “E’s” perspective here, but teamwork is a huge part of what engineers do!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO STUDENTS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN STUDYING STEM?
Rock on! Studying STEM can be challenging; if you’re willing to apply yourself and think critically, I truly believe that you’re capable of succeeding! And hey, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re not expected to know everything. If it weren’t for my classmates and tutors, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
In an academic sense, I’d tell myself to ask more questions, because struggling alone won’t get me anywhere.
In a non-academic sense, I’d tell myself that it’s okay to go alone. (I used to be intimidated to do things by myself, whether that was going for a walk on the beach or eating at a new restaurant.)
FUN FACTS / FAVORITE QUOTE
I love Dr. Seuss, I’m a fountain of random information, and I have an affinity for horrible dad jokes.
“Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.” -Unknown
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO TO CHANGE THE WORLD?
This is a tough one. I guess I don’t really have any desire to be widely known for rocking the world with some big change, but I do believe that small things I do every day can impact the lives of those around me. I fall back on kindness and gratitude – in the grocery store, on the bus, with my friends and family, etc.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re not expected to know everything. If it weren’t for my classmates and tutors, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
If you would like to nominate someone for Women in STEM Wednesday, email Donna Jeno-Amici (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Meg Raasakka (email@example.com)