Rawan Abbasi

Q: What organizations and groups were you part of NYU Tandon and how did they contribute to your experience here?

A: I was active in NYU Tandon’s Undergraduate Student Council during my entire time at the school. I began volunteering in my first year because I wanted to be a part of an organization that was dedicated to serving the community. By my junior year, I was the Director of Programming, and I worked with the council to plan the inaugural Tandon Spirit Week. It was a truly rewarding experience to plan a core set of programs that helped boost the Tandon community spirit and showed what Tandon Pride really looks like. I received the President’s Service Award from NYU and the Tandon Student Leader of the Year Award from Student Activities for my efforts. My senior year I became the first female president since 2010, and I received the Myron M. Rosenthal Student Council Award when I graduated.

I was also very active in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), serving at various times as an executive board member, vice president, and president. We worked with the Wasserman Center to do resume and pitch workshops and hosted companies like App Nexus and Disney. We wanted to have a program that empowered women to feel safe in their surroundings, especially those who were not used to living in a city, so we helped organize Women’s Self-Defense Workshops. SWE won an Interpersonal Leadership Development Award, and I received an Emerging Leader Award from the Office of Student Activities.

Additionally, I was a member of the Tandon Muslim Student Association throughout my time at NYU, and that proved to be a deep source of strength, a system of support, and a means of spiritual growth.

Finally, I was a New Student Orientation Leader for three years because I truly enjoyed working with the first years and helping them acclimate to the school. It gives them reassurance to know they can always come back to their Orientation Leader for advice.


Q: What was your experience in the mechanical engineering program? What projects did you work on and what classes influenced you most?

A: During my first semester, before I declared a major, I took Intro to Engineering and Design (EG-1003), which exposed me to all the majors and where I discovered my interest in kinetic energy harvesting. Our first lab required us to design an aerodynamic car out of a mousetrap and Legos. I was in the only all-girl group in the class, and our design traveled the furthest distance.

I declared my major in the Spring of 2015, and while the mechanical engineering department did not offer renewable energy courses then, I supplemented my interests by taking humanities classes in renewable energy and urban design. I also took a graduate level survey course in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department called Renewable Energy, which covered a broad scope of systems. During my senior year, I took Advanced CAD, which allowed my partner and I to create a new product based on our interests: a kinetic energy harvesting punching bag called PiezoPunch which could power a speaker housed in the stand. During my senior year, I was on a team that worked on a spherical surveillance robot for conditions that would be hazardous to humans. It has gas, photo, and temperature sensors as well as a camera with live-stream capabilities. It won the Dr. Morris Young Outstanding Project Design Award.


Q: Why did you choose NYU Tandon?

A: I wanted to be a part of an engineering school that did not restrict me to studying only engineering for four years, and I appreciated the chance to take Liberal Arts, Language, and Music courses, which really supplemented my time here. I worked as an Admissions Ambassador my first two years at Tandon, and I loved giving tours to prospective students and sharing my experiences with them.

NYU Tandon also has a very open and friendly vibe to it. It is a very collaborative school and students choose to work together, rather than compete against one another. NYU Tandon students support each other and get through their courses as a community.


Q: What types of internships did you do, and what are your current career plans?

A: My first internship was at Con Edison as an Engineering Aid in Electric Ops, and I gained a lot of knowledge of the utility industry, especially electrical distribution. (I got the interview thanks to an alum I met at a Tandon Muslim Student Association Networking Dinner.) I also had a fellowship at Uncharted Power, a start-up focused on off-grid renewable energy generation based on kinetic energy, or everyday motion. The founder of the company started out by inventing a soccer ball that can generate energy from play to later be used as a light for reading. I learned about the company my first year at NYU Tandon and was always inspired by them!

I recently accepted an engineering position at Intertek in California.