Why did you choose engineering at CU Boulder?
I chose to pursue engineering at CU Boulder not only because of the reputation it has among colleges across the United States, but also because of the environment. Boulder consists of all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds and I have really enjoyed how diverse of an environment it is. I also chose Boulder because I am a Colorado native and did not want to leave this beautiful state yet.
What does the #iLookLikeAnEngineer hashtag mean to you?
It means that I am more than my appearance. I am so much more than the blonde hair and blue eyes that people initially judge. I am an engineer, regardless of what first impressions may entail. This campaign is about empowering people to pursue their passions and to have the strength to stand against adversity.
What are three things that make you unique?
I write in cursive, I enjoy rock climbing with friends, and I love yoga.
What are your career goals?
I am an Engineering Plus major, concentrating on Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine. I am also a part of the Biomedical Engineering Minor and the Engineering Leadership Program. My goal with this broad range of education is to help lead doctors and engineers into the ever expanding field of bio-medicine. I believe in giving back to the community and I think this effort is the best way I can achieve that goal. I never want someone to feel as if they cannot live a valuable life after enduring a life altering accident or being diagnosed with a fatal disease. Everyone deserves to live a fulfilling and meaningful life and I want people to have hope that their condition can improve because no one deserves to feel helpless.
What are your hobbies?
I love yoga and trail running, two activities that I have taken up while in Boulder. I also enjoy writing letters to people who will appreciate them and I read motivational books here and there.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
-Robert F. Kennedy
What do you enjoy most about engineering?
I enjoy being surrounded by similar minded people who strive to make the community a better place for future generations to come. I also enjoy how engineers make their imagination come to life, they are the most creative people I have ever met. I think it is very exciting to see what the future holds and I trust that my peers have the capability of achieving all that they set out to do.
What is your favorite engineering experience?
I have really appreciated the project courses that are offered through Engineering Plus because I value team work and being able to help lead other students to achieve goals that are initially thought to be impossible. The professors are also very encouraging and I have learned so many valuable lessons from them.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
My personal journey is why I decided to be a part of the #iLookLikeAnEngineer campaign, and my experiences have been the driving forces for success through the difficult challenges that I have faced as an engineering student. When I was in high school, my chemistry teacher wanted the seniors to go around the room and inform everyone what their plans were for college and thereafter. When my turn came, I spoke of my desire to pursue mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado. While my peers knew who I was, many did not know how academically successful I was or that I had an interest in engineering. I was never one to tell people information if I was not asked. I did not think it mattered that I wanted to pursue a major that many chose not to, yet I was still faced with judgement. I had a male student confront me after I shared my interests with the class and he told me that I was "too dumb" to be an engineer. I was shocked by his statement because I had barely talked to this student throughout high school and his opinion was entirely unwarranted. While I would like to say that I ignored his statement, but it truly hurt to be judged so quickly and so falsely by someone who knew very little of me. After high school, I have dreaded answering the common question of "what are you studying" because when I answer, there is a response that more often than not consists of surprise, doubt, or the sarcastic "good luck." Rarely do I receive encouragement or confidence from others because not many people believe that someone who looks the way I do can complete a challenging major. Through all of the unexpected adversity I have faced while pursuing an engineering major, I want people to be informed and to know that it is possible to be an engineer as long as the students are passionate about it, regardless of what others say or think. At the end of the day, we are a community that should be working together and supporting each other's goals. I honestly do not know what an engineer is supposed to look like, I just know I intend to be one.
I am a member of Society of Women in Engineering, Engineering Leadership Program, BOLD Scholars, and am vice president of a new club on campus, Engineers in Medicine.
Rachael Rupprecht, Class of 2020, Grandview High School Graduate, Mechanical Engineering