Published: Dec. 4, 2023 By

Tomi Oshima Dupeyron, a graduating Integrated Design Engineering (IDE) senior with an emphasis in environmental engineering and a minor in physics, has been recognized by the college for his academic engagement.

"Tomi's commitment to excellence and his passion for helping others make him an exceptional student and leader," said one of his nominators, teaching assistant professor Katherine Ramos. 

Oshima Dupeyron, when asked about the award, said that at first he was surprised to receive it, but he's grateful for the recognition. 

"It feels a bit like a kind squeeze on the shoulder, like I'm on a right path," he said. 

A Journey begins

Oshima Dupeyron's journey to IDE started when the deadline for choosing a major loomed over him as an open-option first year student in engineering. 

When Oshima Dupeyron started college, he felt lost. His parents both went to secondary school largely outside of the United States, and though they were very supportive, they didn't understand the system. 

"I'm not first generation, but I'm first generation in the United States," he explained.

Oshima Dupeyron went to his advisor, Otha Barrow, who recommended he consider IDE. 

"IDE was the right move. I enjoy the small classes. I enjoy knowing everybody. I don't consider myself very outgoing, and it's nice to see familiar faces," he said. Oshima Dupeyron also appreciated the hands-on, project-based nature of the courses. 

"I feel like I'm actually doing something, not just reading textbooks and doing exams," he said. 

Opportunities arise 

IDE also gave Oshima Dupeyron concrete opportunities. He became a course assistant for the program. 

Course assistants play a vital role in the program's project-based courses, where they help students build their understanding and relay any gaps in teaching to the professors.

"Tomi stands out for his exceptional dedication and expertise in supporting students. His deep understanding of the subjects he assists with and his remarkable communication skills allow him to effectively guide and mentor students," said Ramos. 

Oshima Dupeyron is also a proponent of nuclear energy, which led to his environmental engineering emphasis and inspired him to extend his 12-credit physics concentration into a 25-credit minor. 

Reflections on belonging

Oshima Dupeyron says that he still feels a bit lost sometimes; he's interested in many things, and it can be hard to pick and choose.

Still, he said he believes forward momentum is essential.

"Doing is the best kind of thinking in a lot of scenarios. If you start to apply the things that you've been thinking about, they're always going to reveal something," he said. "Getting lost is excusable, but not if you don't do anything. That's like falling down and not getting back up."

Reflecting on his journey through IDE. he said he found a community where he was able to make an impact. 

"I want the world to know, I'm still here, I made it through, and in this sphere, at least, I've made a difference," he said.