Why did you choose CU Engineering?
I chose engineering at CU Boulder because I had an amazing experience with robotics in high school, and I worked with a program that put robots into special needs classrooms. I discovered that I liked the hands-on aspects of technology and the power of what you are able to do with engineering to help people who have been marginalized.
What does #ILookLikeAnEngineer mean to you?
I think that the #iLookLikeAnEngineer hashtag is about bringing forward and confronting our biases about what we expect from engineers. At the same time, it's about bringing forward non-stereotypical engineers to show everyone in engineering that they are not alone, that there are other people who look and are like them within the College of Engineering.
What are three things that make you unique?
I had a chance to study engineering in Madrid this last semester, I love robotics and I’m a huge Marvel nerd.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
Be deeply strange.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy tinkering and learning about the different methods of building things within the ITLL and machine shops around campus. Outside of engineering, I'm on an intramural flag football team and I enjoy swimming and boxing.
I love hands-on engineering. I love machining parts, soldering circuits, laser-cutting material, taking apart random machines and repurposing parts, collecting scrap and building small toys out of materials like paper clips and wires.
What has been your favorite engineering experience so far?
During an engineering internship at Circle Graphics, I got to drive an industrial-grade laser cutter!
Do you have any advice for incoming students?
When I moved to Boulder and started classes, it took me almost three weeks to stop being so excited about college that I wasn't stressed at all. When the novelty began to wear off, I was suddenly hit with a wave of feeling anxious, out-of-place, like I was drifting without a direction. I didn't know many people who were like me and who were in mechanical engineering. I struggled to find groups to study with and it's very hard sometimes to balance work with classes. To overcome these feelings I joined clubs, made connections, and busied myself with focusing on my responsibilities. Over time, these feelings faded back down and I came to really enjoy my classes again. I've learned that these feelings are a normal part of transitioning to and studying in STEM majors, and that although they can seem overwhelming at the time, they fade over time and you adapt to be able to handle them with more assurance in the future. It's okay to not fit in! Be deeply strange, be truly yourself, and you'll be happier in the long run. :)
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I'm a young female engineer and I'm a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Natasha Oullette, Niwot High School, Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2020