Anna Smith never thought she’d be trying to figure out
what kind of an engineer she wanted to be, let alone tasking an
entire class of 5th graders with the same decision.
Smith’s own transition into engineering was anything but
traditional. She was working in the beauty industry in Paris, when
she met an engineer who created a self-buffering skin peel that was
easy on the skin—she’s been hooked ever since.
Now an undergraduate student in the Department of Chemical and
Biological Engineering, Smith's newly found passion is allowing her
to make a big impact in the Buffalo community and inspire others to
take an interest in STEM careers.
Through UB’s National Science Foundation-funded
Interdisciplinary Science and Education Partnership (ISEP), she has
shared her enthusiasm for science and engineering by serving as a
mentor to a classroom in Buffalo Public School #59. The experience
motivated her to take things a step further in her efforts to get
young children interested in engineering, and she organized a field
trip to UB to allow the students to participate in interactive
Students took part in activities such as water filtration
design, building computer games, and devices that aim to cure
“It was really exciting to see a sparkle in their eyes
after they had such a great experience,” said Smith, who
asked the students to write down what type of engineer they wanted
to be when they grew up at the conclusion of the field trip.
Smith’s hard work and determination to be a successful
engineer is starting to pay off. She was recently awarded the
prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, and will receive up to $7,500
per year to help pay for the cost of her education to pursue a STEM
“I plan to launch my own company based on products
developed from novel research ideas that I will work on during my
PhD and beyond. In addition to my aspirations to make advancements
in research and bring these ideas to fruition in industry, I am
committed to serving the community by promoting the STEM fields
through outreach and mentorship programs.”
Smith is doing just that. Not only did she give the students a
day filled with experiential learning, but a chance to decide what
kind of engineer they would grow up to be.