Nora Dunleavy

  1. About Nora
    1. Year: Class of ‘22
    2. Hometown: Western Springs, IL
    3. Hobbies: Running, cooking
  2. Major & Why
    1. Though she started out as an electrical engineering student, Nora transferred into computer engineering after taking a programming course during her sophomore year. She especially likes the practical applications of computer engineering; she is interested in artificial intelligence and algorithms, and she loves how much breadth she gets to work on as a computer engineer!
  3. Life at UIUC
    1. Favorites: Nora’s favorite thing about the University of Illinois is that it’s a huge school with endless opportunities. While it can be a bit overwhelming to start out at such a large school, she notes that “once you find your space, it’s really awesome to be a part of something so big.”
    2. Why she chose UIUC: After attending Introduce a Girl to Engineering day, an outreach event hosted by the Society of Women Engineers at UIUC, Nora knew she wanted to apply to engineering at Illinois.
  4. Student Organizations
    1. Pulse: Pulse is a tech conference for Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Nora has been an active part of this organization since her freshman year. She has helped to plan a high school outreach day, a woman in tech event, and currently serves as the Media and Design Director for the conference.
    2. Society of Women Engineers: She attended Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and Little Sister’s Weekend while in high school, and has served as the Team Tech Co-Director and External Vice President for the section during her time on campus. 
  5. Extracurriculars 
    1. After her freshman year, Nora worked as an Explore Intern at Microsoft. In this program, she rotated between different departments to try out roles in program management and software engineering. She returned to Microsoft again after her sophomore year, this time as an intern at XBox Live where she had the opportunity to work on the XBox console.
  6. After Graduation
    1. Nora plans to go into the software engineering industry right away after graduation. She hopes to take her career in a more technical route and become an expert in her field.
  7. Being a Woman in STEM
    1. The community that Nora found through the Society of Women Engineers was a major support system for her. Even though she was one of the few women in her labs as a freshman, she was able to meet other women in engineering who had been through the same thing by spending time in the SWE office. By talking to upperclassmen and finding mentors through SWE, she developed in her confidence and sense of self and found the tools to succeed in computer engineering.
  8. Advice to Freshmen
    1. Nora’s best piece of advice to incoming freshmen is to “swim in your own lane.” She says that it’s important to do your best and avoid comparing yourself to others, as everyone comes into college with very different backgrounds and experiences.

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