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 PhD student, Cora Taylor.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
DEGREE | WHAT YEAR?
B.S. Mechanical Engineering (Dec.2018), M.S. Mechanical Engineering (Dec. 2020), PhD Mechanical Engineering (2nd Year)
WHAT GROUPS ARE YOU INVOLVED IN?
Currently, I am not involved in any on campus groups, but I did recently join the Copper Harbor Trails Club. During my undergraduate I was heavily involved in the Formula SAE team, Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, and Orientation Programs, as well as being a member of MESAC.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL?
Mountain biking, waterskiing and working on my boat, downhill skiing, camping, backpacking, cooking and baking.
FAVORITE PLACE IN THE AREA?
Winter: Mount Bohemia, Summer: Copper Harbor and on the Portage Canal
FUN FACTS / PETS / FAVORITE QUOTE
I have a dog named Bode, named after the professional ski racer Bode Miller and Hendrik Wade Bode the inventor of the Bode Plot.
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TECH?
I chose Tech for 2 major reasons, which it seems are the same as why a lot of people choose Tech: the quality of engineering degree and the outdoors activities. Having grown up in a small town on the water with easy access to ski hills, I knew I wanted to go to college in a similar place.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT TECH?
The community, plain and simple. The Michigan Tech community has always been so welcoming, friendly, and supportive in all of my endeavors on and off campus. I love that I can be across the country, see someone in a Michigan Tech shirt and instantly have a connection.
HOW HAS TECH IMPACTED YOUR VIEW OF STEM?
STEM really stands for continuous learning and improvement. Your education in a STEM field doesn’t stop when you graduate. When pursuing a STEM degree you take all of these math and science based classes, but really what you learn is how to problem solve and find solutions through learning methods and procedures.
WHAT ORIGINALLY INTERESTED YOU IN STEM?
My sophomore year, my high school started a FIRST Robotics team. One of my good friends convinced me to join the team as the public relations captain, to make t-shirts, communicate with sponsors, and any other “creative” things the team needed. During our first season, I quickly finished any tasks that I needed to do for the public relations position and started getting into the shop and working on the robot. I realized that I had quite the knack for designing and building, and the following year I was the team’s design captain. This initially sparked my interest in engineering, an interest which was solidified through taking all possible engineering related classes my school offered my junior and senior years.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
You ARE smart enough. Throughout my undergraduate degree I was constantly saying to myself that I couldn’t do this because I wasn’t smart enough. It seemed like all of my classmates were so smart and so much more successful than me, but that wasn’t true, many of them were struggling just as I was. Now, during my PhD, I have realized that I am smart enough, and when that self degrading voice comes around, I just keep pushing on.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO STUDENTS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN STUDYING STEM?
Do it! Being in a STEM field is so rewarding, yet challenging. Be ready to work hard to solve the problems put in front of you, but just know that when you do solve them there isn’t a better feeling.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO TO CHANGE THE WORLD?
There’s a well known story out there about a kid walking along a beach filled with washed up starfish, tossing them back in the ocean one by one. Someone walks up to the kid and says “Why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” the kid tosses another starfish into the ocean and responds “Well, I made a difference for that one!” I heard this story a long time ago and it has stuck with me. My goal with my PhD is to become a faculty member. Although it is unlikely that as a faculty member I will change the whole world, I do hope to change some individual worlds.
If you would like to nominate someone for Women in STEM Wednesday, please email Donna Jeno-Amici (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Meg Raasakka (email@example.com)