Thank you, Mr. Eastin, for inviting me to join you today. Good morning, my name is Zoe Anderson and I was born and raised in Seattle, WA. I am half-Japanese, my mother being from Miyazaki, Japan and my father is from Wyoming.
I’m currently a sophomore studying mechanical engineering. Like most engineers, math and science have always been my favorite classes. It was an environment where I could question before accepting concepts and theories. I’m sure at some point in your education you sat there in class staring at the board asking yourself, “Why am I learning this? What does this have to do with anything?” It wasn’t until my senior year of high school when I joined FIRST robotics that I learned about real-world applications of the concepts taught to me in the classroom. Other than learning about engineering and problem-solving skills, it was the process of taking a mere thought or idea and turning it into a tangible object, which encouraged me to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
I cannot begin to describe how relieving and reaffirming it is to know that there are people out there supporting me and wanting me to succeed.
On May 1st, 2013, I decided to pursue my Mechanical engineering degree at RPI. I moved across the country for college because I admired the standing of RPI amongst the best in the country, and the opportunities it offered me on a professional engineering level. However, it was never going to be as easy as simply picking a major, and going to college.
I think many of us can agree that paying for college isn’t practical for everyone. Affording a higher education was always going to be a stretch for me and my family. However last year, I was extremely fortunate to receive the Gary DiCamillo Patroon scholarship. I cannot begin to describe how relieving and reaffirming it is to know that there are people out there supporting me and wanting me to succeed. Without scholarships, like the Patroon scholarship, many people are unable to achieve their dreams because of extenuating financial circumstances which are out of their control. But on a fundamental level, it relieves some of the stress associated with pursuing an education. Not only did this scholarship make it easier for my family back in Seattle, but it also encouraged me to succeed, by allowing me to attend the school of my choice.
Now I am learning to take what I learned from my classes to problem solve, innovate, and develop products at a professional level. With support, encouragement, and an outstanding engineering program, I will earn my degree and become a successful engineer so that one day I may also support future Rensselaer students, and return the favor that many of the donors in the room today have done for me and my fellow classmates.
So in conclusion, I would like to personally thank all of you for supporting RPI students. Your generosity helps us pursue our education and helps to alleviate some of the heavy financial burden that comes along with following our dreams. You have helped to make a difference in my life, and I hope to one day ‘pay it forward’, and help the next generations of RPI students change the world. Thank you for inviting me to join you today.