Senior Alex Moy, a materials science and engineering major from Southborough, Massachusetts, answers a few questions about student life at Carnegie Mellon, what she's excited for as her college career comes to a close, why she chose her major, and how her major and internships have influenced her career decisions.
1. What do you enjoy about campus life?
What I enjoy most about campus life is the people. As CMU students we are very fortunate to attend a university that is so talented in so many diverse and stunning ways. Correspondingly so, the students that attend the university not only have these diverse and stunning talents, but they also carry an extraordinary amount of passion for whatever niche they decide to pursue. I am constantly inspired by both the depth of accomplishment and the depth of humanity that our students, faculty, and staff show each and every day. The people here are easily my favorite thing about Carnegie Mellon.
2. What do you get involved in outside of soccer?
Carnegie Mellon provides so many great opportunities outside of athletics, so I have tried to take advantage of as many as possible. For all four of my undergrad years I have been involved in SPIRIT's buggy team. I started off initially as a mechanic, but I have since transitioned to a pusher. Since my junior year, I have been a proud CIT representative for Undergraduate Student Senate, where I currently sit on the Campus Life Committee. I had always been inspired by the potential government has to make lasting, positive impacts on the people it is meant to serve, and my work on this committee gives me a tangible way to make positive change for students on this campus. Through Student Senate, I have been given the opportunities to serve as a Senate representative both on the Elections Board and the Wellbeing Advisory Committee. Much like it sounds, the Elections Board is charged with running and marketing the student government elections here on Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus. The Wellbeing Project is a new initiative that is looking to promote wellbeing here at CMU. Thanks to the hard work of many of the members of SAAC, I have also been fortunate to be given the opportunity to be a 5th grade writing tutor at Lincoln Elementary School in Pittsburgh's Larimer neighborhood.
3. Tell us about any internships you've had.
For the past two summers I have been working as an intern at the defense contractor, Raytheon Company in Andover, Massachusetts. I worked in the clean room of the microelectronics division and I was mostly involved in production process analysis and process development of radars at the smallest level. Each day I would head into the lab, put on my bunny suit (if you look up "clean room bunny suit" you'll get a pretty good idea of what I looked like between the hours of 7:45 and 4:45 during the summer), and either run experiments on wafers, which are what all chips, either computer or radar, start out as, or I would analyze how these wafers move through the lab.
4. How did your internship(s) help form your career decision?
From my last two summers, I came to the realization that I thoroughly enjoy the experience of being part of a research and development team. It is definitely something I am looking to do in the future, whether it be in academia or in industry. Next year I will be staying at CMU to complete a 5th Year Masters in Materials Science and Engineering. During this time, I will be deciding whether or not my next step will be a Ph.D. or industry.
5. What are you excited for this semester?
This semester I am really excited about branching out. I finished up all of my in-major classes in the fall and now have the chance to take some of the more "exotic" classes for my minors. Though my passion is in materials science and engineering, I love being able to stretch my mind in different directions and learn to see from new perspectives. In taking these classes that I would not have taken normally, I have not only been able to learn by being in a different academic environment, but by being surrounded by students who are from outside of my major. By both taking these out-of-major classes and becoming more involved in some of my extracurriculars, I have been able to learn so much more and meet so many great, talented, and intelligent people. I can't wait to keep doing so as the semester continues to unfold.
6. Why did you select your course of study – what class have you enjoyed the most?
I actually had a less than direct path to my choice of study. In high school I loved science and had the vague idea that engineering was applied science. I desired to take the knowledge that I had and apply it to solve real world problems, so I felt engineering was the career path I was meant to take. At the time, biology was a subject I was pretty good at, so I figured biomedical engineering was the major for me. At the time, BME was not a primary major in the engineering college. We were required to choose another major in addition to BME. I ended up picking materials science and engineering because it aligned best with the track of BME I wanted to take: regenerative medicine. In time, I realized BME, though interesting, was not my passion, but MSE was. Materials Science is a discipline where one learns how the world functions at the smallest level, atomic organization, subatomic interactions, the like, and then applies that knowledge to change what materials can do. My major gave me the knowledge to both see and discover on the tiniest scale and apply that knowledge to alter how we interact with the environment around us. There's nothing more I could have asked for. To be honest, I haven't had one single favorite class; I just love learning in general.
7. What class would you recommended as a MUST TAKE class at CMU?
CMU students are so driven in pursuing their best in their discipline of choice that we sometimes forget to take a look outside of our primary fields of study. I am a huge proponent of taking classes that are out of the box to you. Go out and take something you are interested in or passionate about that maybe does not count for any part of your major requirements. Maybe you will learn from that one class and move on or maybe it will become an integral part of your education, but you never know unless you go out and try. My ultimate recommendation: don't be afraid to look outside the box. I am of the opinion that if you are pursuing something that excites you and makes you happy, it will never be a waste of time.
8. What have you enjoyed about living in Pittsburgh?
This is one small thing about living in Pittsburgh that I love. Each time you drive into Pittsburgh from the airport, you go through a huge tunnel in the side of a hill. And though tunnels are cool, what's even cooler is what is on the other side. As you exit the tunnel, the entire view of downtown Pittsburgh, from the towering, decadent skyscrapers to the massive football and baseball stadiums, unfolds in front of you, framed by Pittsburgh's famous rivers. It's always a heartwarming welcome back that very few other places can give.
9. How do you want people to remember you when you graduate?
I want people to remember me as someone who was hardworking, someone who was caring and kind, someone who was honest, and someone who was a positive contributor in their personal CMU experience.