CHEE Ambassadors do more than simply give tours to interested students. They are an inspiration to those they show around campus and an insightful eye for the faculty and staff.
Department chair Anthony Muscat and program manager Holly Altman recently sat down with nine of these students to learn more about why they chose to take on this role and what they get out of it.
CHEE student Kevin Snyder described his participation in one of the campus tours when he was in high school.
"I sat in on the 326 class and Dr. Blowers wanted to give me advice on how to be successful in college," Snyder said. "He told me to get involved … and he was so willing to talk to me."
That interaction made Snyder want to pay it forward and make sure other incoming students had a similar experience.
Alejandra Fraijo Arce's drive to be a great CHEE Ambassador stems from the fact that she didn't get much guidance in choosing her degree.
"I wanted to help students just starting out because I didn't get that help. I had to discover everything by myself.
"I want to show people the right path to follow."
Julie Frieb said that her goal in giving tours is to provide a unique perspective.
"I like to share my story because I have not taken a typical four-year degree path through college," she said. "I think that's a comfort for people who are coming in."
All the ambassadors agree that the culture of the CHEE department is what really makes their job easy.
"This department has phenomenal faculty," said ambassador Jacob Rischar. "The active learning and group work really help to prepare the students for their futures as professionals, and these topics are easily highlighted when giving tours."
Jayni Hashimoto explains that she and all of the ambassadors share a simple fact with their tour groups: "The classes are geared toward helping us develop a sense of community, so no one has to go through a difficult major alone," Hashimoto said, adding that they impart this fact not because they just want to recruit students, but because these are the experiences the ambassadors themselves have had.
According to Sam Portillo, the most rewarding thing about being ambassadors is seeing the results of their hard work.
"It's so rewarding to be able to explain to someone that it's not the end-all-be-all if you're not good at math at this point in your life," he said. "I can tell them about fields of engineering they didn't even know existed."
Prospective students often take these tours with their families, and Snyder said one of his favorite things is hearing that younger siblings touring with prospective students are now interested in engineering as well.
"It's so rewarding to know that you made an impact on someone and that they understand the incredible things they can do."