Why did you choose engineering at CU Boulder?
I grew up visiting Colorado with my family almost every year and loved it here. So my dad talked me into applying to CU and after a last minute campus visit, some scholarship offers and a spot in the Global Engineering RAP it became the perfect fit! I love the engineering program, living within walking distance of the mountains and felt an immediate sense of home here.
What does the #iLookLikeAnEngineer hashtag mean to you?
To me it means that you don't have to fit a mold to study or work in the engineering field. Physical appearance and background should be unrelated to intellect and interest in any field of study. I am often still greeted with surprise when telling someone that I am studying mechanical engineering. Movements such as this contradict and fight stereotypes such as gender roles or the "dumb blonde" stereotype that I have experienced.
What are three things that make you unique?
- You can recognize my laugh anywhere.
- My life goal is to improve the quality of life of those with incurable medical conditions.
- I hiked my first fourteener with bronchitis and regardless of barely being able to breathe it was still the greatest feeling in the world!
What are your career goals?
To go into the medical device field and specialize in kinesiology, utilizing robotics to enhance and create movement for patients who have lost it. I hope to work first hand with doctors and patients to see the impact this kind of technology can have on someone’s life. Eventually I hope to go the entrepreneurship route, focusing on human centered design and creating a nonprofit to connect people in need with the medical support that can provide them with an increased quality of life.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
"It makes for a good story"
It started out as kind of a joke but soon my friend and I began using this quote to keep things in perspective. The idea is that no matter how embarrassing, horrible or wonderful a time in your life is, eventually it will all just be a story to tell.
What are your hobbies?
I love running, hiking, dancing, rock climbing, volleyball, movies, and random adventures!
What do you enjoy most about engineering?
The fact that you can do anything you want with it and truly make a difference in people's lives! I have always been interested in the medical field and this major provides me with the knowledge to come up with new solutions to help people who are medically in need.
What is your favorite engineering experience?
My favorite engineering experience is a project that I started last year for a woman in the community with multiple sclerosis. It is a wheelchair attachment that is meant to enhance her upper body movement and provide postural support. It has had a huge impact on my future plans as it showed me first hand the positive impact engineering can have on an individual's life and has taught me the beginnings of biomechanics and kinesiology. The project is now my senior design project that will be provided for the woman at the end of this year!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The transition to college is difficult in general and adding in the rigorous engineering coursework only makes it harder. You most likely will fail at some point, I definitely have. But rather than getting beaten down by your failures, use it as motivation. Talk to your professors, go to office hours and meet students in your major.
More than anything I recommend getting involved in any club, research or program that you’re interested in. CU has pretty much any opportunity you can think of and if there isn't already an organization for what you want to do, you can start one! I started the club Engineers in Medicine and it provided me with the perfect environment to pursue my goals. I've gone through some of the most difficult times in my life since entering college and communities such as the Global Engineering RAP, Engineering Leadership Program and BOLD center with their amazing faculty have really helped me thrive at CU.
Morgan Kauss, Class of 2020, Forest Hills Central Graduate, Mechanical Engineering