Upon transferring to Illinois her junior year, Julie Lorenzo has hit the ground running. She is now set to graduate in December 2020 with a degree in civil engineering and is fascinated with the idea that there is an engineer’s touch wherever you go.
One thing Julie is passionate about is being a mentor to others. Julie values the many experiences she has had as a Grainger Engineer where an alumni, professor, or fellow student helped navigate her Illinois experience.
“If I can give back and talk to current students as a Grainger Engineering alumni, that would be awesome. It’s really nice to see how your experiences can impact current students in a positive way.”
Currently, Julie helps mentor others through the student organizations she is part of. Julie was a member of Engineering Ambassadors and had the chance to present to local underrepresented classrooms about STEM and engineering concepts. Julie is grateful to have these kinds of opportunities, as these are things she wished to experience herself when she was younger.
“I made it a priority to do outreach and introduce STEM to younger people.”
A True Professional
Julie is committed to helping fellow students become better professionals. She currently serves on the graduate committee for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and is responsible for encouraging Hispanic students to apply to graduate school.
She helps plan events such pairing undergraduate students with graduate students so they can discuss what life as a graduate student is like. She also helps undergraduate students build their network with deans and professors, and organizes talks on how the application process typically works for graduate programs.
Additionally, Julie is a career peer with Engineering Career Services. In her position as Career Peer, Julie helps students with their interviewing skills and conducts resume review.
“There’s just so many resources here on campus. It’s a matter of searching for it and contacting the right people and I’m glad I can help with that. It’s making the extra effort and believing that you can get through this and help others get through this.”
Thinking Outside the Classroom
After graduation, Julie hopes to work in construction management and pursue a graduate degree from The Grainger College of Engineering with the Global Leaders in Construction Management program. With the civil engineering curriculum, Julie has had the first-hand opportunity to learn how Grainger Engineers can make a difference no matter where they end up.
In one of her courses, Julie visited the energy plant on campus and applied the fundamentals learned in the classroom to a real problem in the plant. In other classe, Julie experimented with different materials, and learned about the latest safety trends in construction management. To Julie, all of these experiences combined are the perfect storm for building an engineer with a well-rounded technical perspective, and an inherent desire to improve the community around them.
“It’s really cool to have very hands-on experiences and see things with our own eyes instead of taking pieces of information for granted and learning them through videos. We get to go out and experience things for ourselves. It definitely has opened my eyes to seeing how what you learn in the classroom can really be effective in the real world, even if you don’t think it does.”
She believes that the experiences she has had are invaluable not only to herself, but to others as well. Being a Knight of St. Patrick is a reflection of the accomplishments one makes in and out of the classroom, and Julie could not be more proud of all she has achieved during her few years on campus.
“I was able to accomplish so much and have an impact outside of the classroom and I know that can be really hard for transfer students. Being Knight of St. Patrick is for those people who are trying to make a difference in engineering and outside engineering and are trying to bring people together.”