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June Lukuyu '13

Associate Engineer, Aspen Tecnnology

June Lukuyu

My decision to study at Smith College was a leap of faith. I was leaving my home in Kenya for the very first time and moving to a quaint small town 8,535 miles away. The rare opportunity to fulfill my dream of studying engineering amidst other great minds from different cultures around the world gave me every reason to face my fears and go for it.

Being part of the Picker Engineering Program helped me learn how to be a team player, be assertive, hardworking and build my confidence amidst the challenge of trying to adapt to a new environment. The program offers students the opportunity to interact intellectually with the faculty beyond the classroom by being involved in faculty research projects, independent summer research, special studies projects and senior design projects. I was able to take advantage of this opportunity by doing research with my adviser, Professor Judy Cardell for over two years. This was the most important experience for me from the program. It allowed me to exert myself to accomplish much more than what was defined in the curriculum. I was able to identify a real problem that needed to be addressed in my home country, formulate a problem statement and then apply the theoretical knowledge I had gained in class to propose solutions to the problem. With the great mentorship and support of Professor Cardell, I eventually compiled my work into what I consider my greatest accomplishment at Smith College, my undergraduate thesis.

I am currently working for Aspen Technology, a software development company, as an associate engineer. I am responsible for designing the electrical and power distribution components in one of the process optimization software that AspenTech develops. In addition to engineering, my role here requires me to have working knowledge of computer programming. The Picker Engineering Program provided me with the opportunity to take classes in other disciplines and the basic programming knowledge I obtained from my computer science classes at Smith has been of tremendous help in trying to get acquainted with my new role. Most importantly, the principles of hard work, "100 percent effort" in whatever you do, independent and creative thinking, team work, responsibility and integrity that the program helped cultivate in me have been of great importance.

Today I look back at the wonderful memories at Smith, in Ford Hall and I am very grateful to the Picker Engineering Program for being a home away from home. The professors that I interacted with, the friends that I made, the groups I associated myself with, and the leadership roles I took on have all had an influence on where I am today. I am proud to be a Picker Engineering Program alumna and I will forever cherish my experiences, which I consider life changing.