Akanksha Srivastava Major: Environmental Engineering Why did you choose Cornell? There are a lot of cool project teams, sustainability organizations, and research opportunities at Cornell. However, a... Read more about Celebrating our Seniors: Akanksha Srivastava
Celebrating our Graduates - Isabella Animadu
- Hometown: Houston, Texas
Major: Civil Engineering
I chose Cornell mainly because of the academic resources and support given to underrepresented students. When visiting campus, I stopped by the Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE) office and learned about the different initiatives they have to enhance the equity of students like me. I was also drawn to the inclusive and diverse environment at Cornell. I appreciate how I have the opportunity to interact with students from all across the world.
I was drawn to Cornell CEE after taking the course Modern Structures. In this course, I learned about different structural forms, how they carry loads, and the historical and social significance of infrastructure within various societies. This class inspired me to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering because I believe it will propel me toward a technical career in combating disparities in infrastructure and addressing the needs of marginalized communities. Further, I chose Cornell CEE because of the faculty’s dedication to students and their success. Each professor I have had as a student in the College of Civil and Environmental Engineering has given me valuable guidance and encouragement to achieve my goals.
What do you think was the most valuable lesson you learned while pursuing this major?
Civil Engineering is more than finding technical solutions to infrastructure challenges or the maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment; it is an engineering discipline that can play a large role in increasing the health and quality of life for marginalized populations and empower communities that lack the necessary infrastructure to sustain growth and sustainability.
What interests do you have outside your studies?
I have been heavily involved in the National Society of Black Engineers throughout my time at Cornell. In this organization, I have served as Conference Planning Chair, Community Service Chair, and Chapter President. Cornell NSBE has been an integral part of my time as a student due to the strong sense of community I have built with other minority engineering students. Through NSBE, I have advocated to broaden participation in engineering and increase the amount of academic and professional resources for its members. I have also been involved in the Cornell Seismic Design Project team, where I have helped design and build a 5-foot tall balsa wood model to withstand seismic loads, and the Pan African Student Association, where I have worked hard to increase awareness about the diverse cultures of various African countries. Outside of class, I love creating art and exploring new mediums such as charcoal and digital art.
What advice do you have for students considering CEE? Make sure to explore the multiple branches of civil engineering! Take different classes across the various topics from water resources to renewable energy systems to discover what you are passionate about.
Following graduation, I will return to Cornell in Fall 2022 to complete my Master of Engineering Degree in Engineering Management. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see myself as an advocate for infrastructural justice by working with local governments and communities to build infrastructure that creates equity for marginalized populations. Further, I hope to aid these communities in devising sustainable development plans that will improve the standard of living and how human beings interact with the environment to preserve it.