Atg Logo Vector

Industrial Engineering Student Spotlight: Sarai

Check out the interview below with Industrial Engineering student Sarai to learn more about her experiences and how you can #BeThatEngineer!
Industrial Engineering Student Spotlight: Sarai -

Meet Sarai, a junior industrial engineering student

Sarai studies at the University of Pittsburgh with a minor in bioengineering and a concentration in product development and manufacturing. Read on to learn more about her studies in industrial engineering!

Industrial Engineering Student Spotlight: Sarai -

When did you first hear about engineering and when did you hear specifically about industrial engineering as a kid?

I first heard of engineering when I was in middle school at a STEM summer program! I loved to build things and I was also very interested in research in high school, so I always thought engineering was going to be the best fit for me. As for industrial engineering, I really did not know what industrial engineering was until my freshman year of college. When I decided to switch into industrial engineering from bioengineering, it was one of the best decisions I made because it involved all of my interests of data science, product development, and manufacturing.

What made you choose industrial engineering? Who was your biggest influence in choosing this field?

I chose industrial engineering because I really liked product design, systems, and being able to learn about how we can make processes more efficient.

What is being an engineer like in college? How about as a female engineer?

Being an engineer in college can definitely be tough at times but at Pitt I have such a great support system and it definitely makes the process of becoming an engineer easier. As for being a Hispanic female engineer, it can be intimidating at times; however, having a community like the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and other clubs like SWE definitely do not make me feel alone in engineering.

Are there a lot of girls studying engineering? Specifically industrial engineering?

At Pitt, yes, many girls are studying engineering. In my industrial engineering classes, there are a good number of girls in my classes! However, at the national level there are a fewer number of women who are in the field of industrial engineering.

What is your favorite part about studying industrial engineering so far?

My favorite part of studying industrial engineering so far is that I get to take classes that really tailor to my interest. This semester I am taking human factors engineering, product design, and product realization, which are all classes that focus on product development, and I really enjoy this topic.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What kind of impact on the world do you hope to have?

Once I graduate, I hope to go to graduate school to get a master’s degree in product design or medical product development. As for what impact I want to have in the world, I really want to help develop products that are designed better for human use by focusing on human factors engineering and to make medical products more accessible to populations that are in need. I also want to have an impact in Hispanic communities by providing these communities with elementary/middle school engineering programs to introduce more students to the field of engineering.

As a kid growing up, were there things you wish you had done that could have helped you in your engineering education?

When I was kid, I wished I joined a robotics club or just in general a STEM-based club! Joining a robotics club definitely provides you with a ton of engineering experiences you can apply later on.

What has been one of the hardest obstacles you have had to overcome so far? How did you overcome it?

One of the hardest obstacles I have had to overcome was trying to discover what engineering was the right one for me. I had a rough semester in my first semester in bioengineering and I talked with my advisor and realized that bioengineering was not a good fit for me as a major but as a minor instead. I then went through the process of switching departments and ended up loving industrial engineering, but it was a tough transition. One thing that made the process easy was my advisors and talking to upperclassmen about similar experiences.

What advice do you have for our readers who may want to become engineers one day?

If you want to be an engineer someday join engineering clubs that you can find and take advantage of any STEM opportunities around you. I also recommend taking STEM classes in high school!


  • Michelle Stark

    Michelle Stark, P.E. is an electrical engineer design consultant at CDM Smith. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Norwich University and is a wife and mom of four wonderful children.