Sonali Kumar

  1. About Sonali
    1. Year: Class of ‘23
    2. Hometown: Elmhurst, IL
    3. Hobbies: Crafts, origami, drawing, and sewing
  2. Major & Why
    1. Sonali started out in Engineering Undeclared and eventually chose to major in Mechanical Engineering because she loved the hands-on aspect of the major. She always had a feeling she’d choose mechanical engineering, but she was able to solidify this decision after talking to professional engineers through events with the Society of Women Engineers. She also loves CAD and hands-on design projects, which really made Mechanical Engineering click for her. She is also minoring in Sustainability.
  3. Life at UIUC
    1. Favorites: Sonali’s favorite thing about UIUC is that you have the opportunity to meet people from such a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives. While it’s a large school, she loves that you can make it small for yourself by forming close-knit communities within RSOs.
    2. Why she chose UIUC: Sonali chose UIUC because of all the opportunities she would be able to choose from as a student in Engineering Undeclared.
  4. Student Organizations
    1. Engineering Ambassadors: Sonali is the technical executive for Engineering Ambassadors, which is a group focused on STEM outreach and inspiring the next generation of engineers.
    2. Society of Women Engineers: As Creativity Chair in the Fundraising committee, Sonali plans new fundraising events for the chapter.
    3. Illinois Solar Decathlon: The Solar Decathlon team builds a solar house to compete in a national competition every year. Sonali is a part of the water group on the build team, where she is working to incorporate a grey water system into the house.
  5. After Graduation
    1. While she is still exploring different options, Sonali is interested in sustainability and could see herself working in the energy sector in the future.
  6. Being a Woman in STEM
    1. One of the most influential moments in Sonali’s journey as a woman in STEM was participating in the GFX Global Sustainability Scholars cohort. She loved having the opportunity to meet so many other women in engineering as a freshman and build a strong community of support through the class.
  7. Advice to Freshmen
    1. Sonali’s advice is to put yourself out there, even if you’re a bit out of your comfort zone at first. She says “make the most of the opportunities that are presented to you because you never know if you’re going to like something until you try it.”

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