Meet the Majors

Emma Lesser ’22


About Emma

Class of 2022

Hometown: Sherborn, MA


Minor: Environmental Science and Policy

House: Wilson

Other clubs, sports, activities:
Varsity Track & Field Team, Engineering Liaison, SCID (Sports Committee for Inclusion and Diversity)

Describe your major completely incorrectly.
Engineering is making many assumptions without always having the knowledge to back up these assumptions. If a problem is too hard, engineers can just make assumptions to make it easier. This makes it possible to analyze all parts of Smith’s campus in problem sets. Sometimes engineering involves staring at problems for multiple hours until the answer suddenly pops into your head. Everyone will expect you to know about everything since you are an engineer. The engineering major prepares engineers to have the confidence to try to fix things even if they don’t know how.

How did you select your minor and do you see any intersection between that and your major?
I’m minoring in environmental science & policy and there are many intersections between this minor and engineering, especially environmental engineering. I am interested in working to address climate change in some way and this minor has allowed me to learn about the social, political and economic factors that relate to climate change and impact engineering. The technical aspects of engineering don't exist in a vacuum since engineered solutions affect people and the environment. My minor has also helped me think about environmental justice in relation to engineering.

The technical aspects of engineering don't exist in a vacuum since engineered solutions affect people and the environment.

Has there been any inspiring engineer who you've particularly looked up to?
I look up to my mom, who does work in the engineering field. She thinks about the complexities of problems and has situated some of her work at the intersection of technology and policy, which is something I hope to do as well. My mom works hard, has a large base of knowledge that allows her to analyze many situations, and is always curious to learn new things.

What was a favorite class that had nothing to do with your major?
It’s hard to pick a favorite but I really enjoyed the rock climbing class I took. I’d been wanting to do more rock climbing and this class allowed me to find time to do it. I enjoyed figuring out what moves to do as well as the physical challenge.

What spot on campus will you miss the most?
This may sound a little unexciting, but I’ll miss all the classrooms I spent time doing work in (and getting distracted and not doing work). I have many good memories of studying with friends and goofing around in various classrooms.

Do you have a favorite memory from a Smith tradition?
This past Mountain Day I went with a friend to Chapel Brook. We did some hopping around on rocks, slid on the rock slides, and stood underneath a waterfall despite it being a little chilly. I also purchased a fun, small pumpkin to decorate my room, as I do every year. I spent the rest of the day hanging out on the quad and meandering around campus, bumping into friends.