CREATE Mentor Steffany Yang

CREATE Mentor shares her experiences in the NSF-funded "Creating Retention and Engagement for Academically Talented Engineers" program.

Steffany Yang

A first-generation college student, Steffany is grateful that CREATE has exposed her to many "incredible and inspiring individuals--scholars, mentors, and faculty."

CREATE Mentor Steffany Yang

CREATE Mentor shares her experiences in the NSF-funded "Creating Retention and Engagement for Academically Talented Engineers" program.

A first-generation college student, Steffany is grateful that CREATE has exposed her to many "incredible and inspiring individuals--scholars, mentors, and faculty."

Steffany Yang

A first-generation college student, Steffany is grateful that CREATE has exposed her to many "incredible and inspiring individuals--scholars, mentors, and faculty."

Mechanical Engineering major minoring in renewable energy

What got you interested in Mechanical Engineering?

I was actually a Chemical Engineering major for 2 years and I recently switched to Mechanical in the middle of the Spring 2020 semester. I switched to Mechanical because as I went through some ChemE courses and understood this field more, I found that I was uninterested in the learning material, job prospects, and I disliked how small the ChemE department is--I felt like I was unsupported in regards to peers and faculty. On the other hand, throughout my first 2 years, I also took some MechE classes and found them to be more interesting. Additionally, I love how large the MechE department (which means more support and resources yay) and there are way more internship opportunities available for Mechanical Engineering compared to Chemical; I just finished my 5th internship at Panasonic and it was Mechanical Engineering related--super awesome experience.  professionally.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What impact do you hope to have in the world?

Right after graduation, I hope to take a chill pill first. I want to take a 6 month maybe even a year break before I dive into industry or even grad school (haven't figured this out yet). I'm originally from Indonesia so maybe during this "break" period, I'll go back to my home country to get back in touch with my roots and also do some backpacking throughout Southeast Asia. 

After school is out of the way, I hope to become an engineer for an international corporation whose mission is to innovate the world and give back to communities/the environment. 

My ideal career would be something that revolves around community development, especially within developing countries--I want to see the world. As a minority, low-income woman in engineering, I hope to someday be able to use my experiences to empower women and other underrepresented groups within the field of STEM. I'm also passionate about environmental sustainability so I would also love to positively impact this sector.

How did you hear about the CREATE program?

Dr. Vollstedt recruited me to, at first, mentor a group of CREATE Scholars for E-FIT. After Nevada FIT ended, she offered me to become a long-term CREATE Mentor for this program.

How did you decide to apply to be a mentor?

I enjoyed mentoring the group of CREATE Scholars during E-FIT so I took up Dr. V's extended offer because I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to share my experiences with the young ones and also build relationships with the engineering faculty that are involved with CREATE.

What, exactly, did you do as a CREATE mentor?

As a mentor, I primarily served my mentees by giving them moral support. I met with my mentees, as a group, about once a month to keep updated with their academic/personal/professional life and give them advice/guidance. During these meetings, I sometimes hosted "workshops" where I helped with resume building, time management, goal-setting, study abroad, and other professional development activities. I didn't directly help my mentees with homework, but I always advocated for campus resources (such as tutoring centers and attending PASS sessions) and healthy study habits (such as forming study groups and planning out studying in advance). Additionally, I encouraged my mentees to reach out to me if they ever needed extra guidance and resources.

Do you have a favorite moment from your time as a mentor?

My favorite moment as a mentor was probably when I received my first personal text from my mentee asking me for class and personal advice as well as study abroad. This was memorable because it was the first time my mentee reached out to me outside of our group meetings or from me pestering them. It was a breakthrough in the sense that I had gained trust from my mentees and they feel comfortable enough to open up to me and seek guidance. I am still a mentor and I will be a mentor again for the 2020-2021 school year.

How has your time with CREATE shaped your career goals or your own academic experience at the University?

CREATE has exposed me to a lot of incredible and inspiring individuals--Scholars, Mentors, and Faculty. When I was deciding if I wanted to switch to Mechanical Engineering, I often turned to the people of CREATE to gain different perspectives, which essentially helped me make my final decision. As for career goals, many of the faculty members have shared their career path stories with me, which have helped me understand what I may or may not like in a career. Being surrounded by extremely motivated Scholars energizes me; this helps me stay driven with my academic experience and future prospects. year.

What advice would you give someone who is looking to follow in your footstep?

Put yourself out there, meet as many people as you can, never shy away from asking for help, don't be afraid to fail, and have fun in the process!! What has helped me the most with getting myself to where I am now is putting myself out there and actively reaching out to people. The cheesy motto, "it's about who you know, not what you know" is SO true (that's how I landed my Panasonic internship; I didn't even apply to anything formally). An easy way to meet new people is by getting involved on campus. Also, I cannot stress enough--HAVE FUN!! I often see students take things way too seriously and they forget that they are in college and have practically no responsibilities outside of classes so they should be having fun; we have the rest of our lives to work and be boring so just enjoy the moment.

Anything else you’d like to add?

CREATE is such an incredible program (I wish it started a year earlier so I could be a Scholar), and I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of it. These Scholars are amazing and they will have extremely bright futures. I am so thankful for all of the faculty that are involved with shaping the CREATE program and for all of the support they have provided to all of us!

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