Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Buffalo.
Why did you choose UB?
I chose UB for it’s great engineering program and affordability, but above that when I walked on to campus, more than anywhere else I toured, it felt like home.
What do you like most about engineering at UB?
My favorite part about UB is the people here. I am constantly impressed and inspired by the innovative ideas and work being done by my peers and professors alike.
Why did you choose to go into engineering?
I chose to go into engineering because I’ve always enjoyed math and science, particularly the aspect of problem-solving and potential for innovation that these subjects offer.
What is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus is the underground tunnel filled with student artwork that connects Alumni Arena to the Center for the Arts.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I’m working with a club called Engineers for a Sustainable World on bringing a sustainability- based conference to UB in the spring of 2020.
What else do you do on campus and in the community?
During my time as a student at UB, I have been heavily involved on campus. I am currently working as a teaching assistant for the gifted math program, where I am responsible for helping students to gain a better understanding of algebra and trigonometry, as well as grade assignments. I’ve worked for UB as a student events assistant, where I helped set up and usher for sporting events and the distinguished speaker series.
I am also very involved within the engineering school here on campus, and for the past two summers, have worked as a coordinator for the Tinker Project, a week-long summer camp for high school girls interested in pursuing engineering. I am also an invested member of Engineers for a Sustainable World, and last year I was part of a project team that designed and presented a project called Solar Map, a solar-powered drone boat that collected water quality data. This project won our local Erie Hack competition, and we were able to present it again at a sustainability conference in Detroit.
I am also involved in the Honors College, and have spent this past semester as a peer mentor to incoming freshmen. Also through the Honors College I also was able to volunteer with Liberty Partnerships, a UB-affiliated organization that works in Buffalo Public Schools to support their efforts to retain and ultimately ensure that students graduate on time.
What have you done that you are most proud of?
My favorite project (and the thing I’m most passionate about) is Tinker, a summer camp I worked on where I was able to introduce high school girls interested in STEM to other professional engineering women. I think that there is something uniquely important about meeting other women who are succeeding in the STEM field; it is simultaneously both a feeling of comfort and a call to action. And I’ve found that I have a passion for making those connections happen.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to go to grad school and get my professional engineering license.
Do you have any advice for prospective students?
My advice to prospective students is if you’re only interested in the field of engineering because you think that you’ll make good money and don’t actually enjoy doing math and science, then don’t pursue it because you’re going to be absolutely miserable. But if you genuinely enjoy math and science and want to be challenged, then pursue it full force and don’t look back; it is an incredibly exciting and rewarding field to be in.
Valerie Bevan received a 2019 Leaders in Excellence Scholarship from the UB Engineering and Applied Science Alumni Association (UBEAA).