Growing up, Elena Kamis built and launched model rockets. Today, she is preparing to graduate with her degree in aerospace engineering. Along with keeping her eyes on the skies, Elena has spent her Grainger Engineering career advocating for women in engineering.
A Leader Outside the Classroom
One of the things Elena enjoys about Grainger Engineering are the opportunities to try something new and meet new people.
Though she is committed to the technical learning aspects of aerospace, Elena has made efforts to grow the educational outreach scene within Grainger Engineering. Through multiple organizations such as Illinois Space Society and Women in Engineering, Elena is able to extend her knowledge to the community and future Grainger Engineers.
“Most people think engineering is just tech but there are so many other things you can do with engineering besides tech. I’m really involved with the educational outreach scene and that’s not something I expected when I chose engineering but I love that I can do that here.”
For Elena, one of the things that sets Grainger Engineering apart is the emphasis on working together.
“The university really thrives on group work. We do a lot of group projects, even in our RSOs. Everything is about working together. Being here has really solidified that engineering and life in general is about working together.”
Elena has used this collaborative spirit to empower women in all fields of engineering. She is a member of Women in Aerospace and the engineering sorority Alpha Omega Epsilon. One of the things Elena hopes to accomplish as a Grainger Engineer is to help build a strong support network for women in STEM.
“I hope that my efforts and the things I have gone through change the stigma around women in engineering and the way future generations grow into engineering. I hope my choice to come to this university and my choice to be an engineer makes it easier for women in engineering in the future as a whole.”
Something for Everyone
Elena believes the best part of being a student with Grainger Engineering are the opportunities to work on an array of technical projects and opportunities to step into leadership roles.
From building CAD models in class, to participating in the NASA Space Grant, to launching a high altitude balloon, to becoming a Knight of St. Patrick, Elena is a firm believer in learning through experiences.
As a member of Illinois Space Society, Elena got to collaborate with other engineering students from different disciplines in gathering data through a high altitude balloon to observe the 2017 solar eclipse. She was responsible for the cameras that recorded the data.
“We did a high altitude balloon to watch the solar eclipse for 2017, which was really cool because high altitude ballooning is an atmospheric science and aerospace thing. It was fun to do something that wasn’t just my major. That’s why I love Grainger Engineering because you can really do everything, you just have to find it.”