2013 Graduate Says “Thank You, RPI!”
Cary Ann Kaczowka is a member of the Class of 2013. On May 25, she was one of 1,676 students who received degrees. Kaczowka, a native of Seekonk, Mass., was a dual major in mechanical engineering and design, innovation, and society.
While at Rensselaer, she also carved out time to join the Society of Women Engineers, an organization that she credits with “guiding her through the new world of college,” and one where she served as president. Before leaving, she had some parting words that she wanted to share with the campus. After graduation, Kaczowka is heading to Seattle, Wash., to the Boeing Company, and will work in the company’s Engineering Career Foundation Program. Her letter is excerpted below.
Thank you for the countless opportunities you’ve given us! I have learned more than I could have ever anticipated over the past four years. To my surprise, much of that learning took place outside the classroom.
As freshmen, we soaked up returning students’ advice. It began with my mentor from the Women’s Mentor Program who helped guide me through this new world called college. Soon afterward, I joined the organization that would come to consume most of my free time: the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). When I attended my first officers’ meeting, I was soon overwhelmed; these young women do a lot.
This group of young women was one of the best resources a new student could have hoped for. Each of them was happy to mentor classmates, and it was through them that I attended a workshop about registering for classes. I had an opportunity to meet and speak with upperclassmen of different majors, two of whom were dual majoring in mechanical engineering and design, innovation, and society. They were passionate about their program, and confident that it was one of the best decisions they had ever made.
I guess in some way, their passion and interest for the program rubbed off on me. The following semester I enrolled in my first studio course to pursue the same dual degree. This group of people has challenged me in the best ways. We have learned to step outside of our comfort zones, to support each other, and to recognize that we truly can make a change in the world.
This week, I found myself reflecting on how SWE has been a large part of my life and experience at RPI. I recall the annual golf clinic I began at Saratoga National Golf Course to inspire fun with networking; teaching young Girl Scouts about buoyancy and density during a SWE-hosted engineering day event; participating in a free skate event and attending many of the SWE annual and regional conferences…
Today, with graduation around the corner, I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to not only learn from my mentors, but also to serve as a mentor as well. Those words of encouragement have done wonders to boost my self-confidence and belief that I can make a difference in the world.
So as I leave RPI, it is with excitement. It is now time for us graduates to leave RPI and to make our mark. I know that our seats will soon be filled with some very talented classmates, who have so much promise. I cannot wait to see what they will do!
I want to thank you, RPI, and my family for supporting my efforts without any reservation. Four years went by too quickly. I will miss you, RPI!
Cary Ann Kaczowka ’13