Being involved in the Wisconsin Engineer Magazine has been pivotal to my undergraduate experience. Growing up, I was an introverted child with an inquisitive mind and an endless imagination. The cultural differences I experienced when moving from Kampala, Uganda to Woodbury, Minnesota made me even more introspective. Hence, the best form of expressing my thoughts about all these changes was putting them on paper. A curious young Jemimah also loved to tinker with miscellaneous items such as cardboard boxes and worn rubber sandals to build makeshift objects such as car prototypes (prototype is generous, considering the number of design flaws they had). Little did I know that this passion for innovation would eventually propel me towards an engineering career.
In my mind, writing and engineering were mutually exclusive. A running joke from other engineering students was that engineers usually dislike writing. I did not want to pick one interest over the other. Therefore, finding the Wisconsin Engineer Magazine booth at the organization fair solved that dilemma! I could pursue both my love for creative writing and innovative science. I still remember my excitement after my first article was published. I shared my articles with everyone I knew! That was just the beginning of incredible experiences that came with being a part of WEM. Over time, I not only developed my writing and interviewing skills, but also met the most incredible group of people with both shared and varied interests. As I sought out more leadership roles such as editor and editor-in-chief, my communication skills improved, and I learned to appreciate the value of teamwork. I strongly believe these experiences ultimately paved the way for me to land my dream engineering position.
With all this in mind, it is important to acknowledge the hardships that we all experienced in the past year. Living with these challenges necessitated a few adjustments. For instance, the magazine changed the frequency of publication from quarterly to semi-annually. The in-person social activities such as pizza night, bowling and skating were exchanged for virtual ones. Moreover, course rigor and academic expectations remained high. Low morale would have been completely justified! However, the members of the Wisconsin Engineer Magazine staff were flexible and resilient. The dedication of the staff and department heads through all the adjustments was a testament to the value of having a coherent team. I have never been prouder to be part of an organization. The most exciting part was seeing new faces, reminding me of when I first joined the magazine. I have learned so much from everyone in WEM and I am confident that the magazine will only get better. I would also like to thank our advisor, Mike Shapiro, who went above and beyond to provide support for the magazine staff.
As you read this issue, keep in mind the creativity, hard work and drive of the Wisconsin Engineer Magazine staff. Although my time as an undergraduate is coming to an end, I will always cherish my time being part of the Wisconsin Engineer. On Wisconsin!