April 25, 2005
Ever since her parents, both Carnegie Mellon graduates, took her to spring carnival as a little girl, Nicole Saulnier always knew our school was her first choice. Now, a graduate student in ECE, she earned her Integrated M.S./B.S. (IMB) degree last year and was one of the first winners of the ATK-Nick G. Vlahakis Scholarship(along with ECE junior Nicholas Rubi). She has been president of her sorority, a performer with Kiltie Band and the Dancers' Symposium, as well as a member of many honor societies. Although she is always on the move, she still finds time to give department tours and reach out to children to spark an interest in engineering, through programs such as Society for Women Engineers (SWE) events and National Engineers Week. Read about her scholarship, activities, and Pittsburgh pride:
I am from Pittsburgh originally, which makes this award all the more special. Mr. Vlahakis also grew up in Pittsburgh and it is nice that he wants to help other people who have lived here.
In high school I liked science and math, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to major in in college. My older cousin was an engineer and he showed me what he studied in school, and it seemed like fun, so I decided to apply to the ECE Department.
A lot of my family has attended CMU. My parents both went to school here and used to bring me over for carnival every year. I'm not really sure why, but ever since I was little and I have been coming here, I knew it was where I would end up. It was always a comfortable place to be. There are a lot of talented faculty at the university who have been very helpful over the past four years I have spent here.
Last summer I worked for my dad, who is a cost estimator. I learned a lot about construction, civil engineering, and architecture. It was definitely something new for me, but it was interesting.
The summer before last I worked for ATK Thiokol in Promontory, Utah. It was a wonderful experience and one of the best summers of my life. CMU definitely prepared me for real-world work. The internship went smoothly and I was able to accomplish all of the tasks I was assigned.
I really enjoyed being part of such a great department with wonderful faculty. For me the most rewarding parts of the past four years were those times when I could give back to the department by giving tours or reaching out to children to spark an interest in engineering.