Meet Alana Schwarz, A Community Builder

Sitting in a sunlit booth in the GSU, I opened up my computer, ready to write all about Alana Schwarz. I figured there wasn’t much about her that I didn’t really know; that this “interview” was really just a formality. I could not have been more wrong.

One of the reasons I wanted to interview Alana was because, among other things, she’s a mechanical engineering major. As a COM student who’s currently struggling through MA 113, I asked her what it was like to be a junior in STEM, to which she responded, “Being a student is STEM is one of the most difficult yet rewarding programs I’ve ever endured. I’ve never dealt with such an emotional experience when dealing with my school work but the value I get out of it is the reason I stay in it.”

Originally a biomedical engineering major, Alana switched majors because she realized she didn’t want to focus on the research part of engineering; she was more interested in the business side of it, which allowed her to focus on the “holistic” part of engineering.

Alana’s main interest lies in product design. She always knew that she was better at math and science, which is what led her to engineering in the first place, but she was intrigued by the process in which one thing completely changes the way something is designed and something works—focusing on product design was a perfect fit. It perfectly combines her perfectionist qualities and her interest in the “miniscule” things in life.

Outside of STEM—what? There’s life outside of STEM? You bet—Alana is a 2-time FYSOP leader (which is where we met), the PR/Marketing chair for her community service sorority, Omega Phi Alpha, and is an active member of the CSC.

I asked her why she kept coming back to FYSOP as a leader. Her answer was perfect: “FYSOP shaped my experience at BU and my transition into school. It’s a program that has so much potential to be a life-changing force and is the best way to make connections with people every year.” A true community builder, she loves the ability to be the person who introduces someone to her community—BU.

Community and community service are true embodiments of Alana’s spirit. She’s from a tight-knit suburb just outside of Chicago called Highland Park, where everyone knows everything about anyone. While she admits that at times it can get annoying when everyone knows details about your personal life, it shows how close the community is, and how much people care about one another. That Highland Park affection is something she wanted to replicate when she came to BU, which led her to get involved in Hillel, because being Jewish is a central part of Highland Park’s identity.

Alana’s dedication to community service should never go unnoticed—yet she says it’s the most underrated thing about her. A story she told about one of her most rewarding experiences captures the importance of community service that many people don’t think about. Last year, she was asked to volunteer at the Red Cross on a Saturday at 8 am because she speaks Spanish and could help translate. When looking at the computers to tell people what kind of food stamps they were eligible for, she was able to see entire family incomes, which were sometimes as small as $200 a month, to feed a family of 7. If she wasn’t there, it would’ve been that much harder for these families to get the resources they needed. It reminded her of both the privilege we have as BU students and the impact one person has on a community.

After she graduates in just about a year and a half, she wants to try something new, whether that be travel or some type of adventure. Her dream job would be to combine her two passions: community service and product development, so she’d love to do product development for a nonprofit or make a product that makes our world a little bit easier to live in— and not a product that only people with money can afford.

To end off this profile, here are some quick-fire fun facts about Alana:

Favorite place to study on campus: Law School café

Favorite part about Boston: Something about the city is irresistibly charming

Favorite memory from freshman year: When the Cubs won the World Series and she watched it with her whole floor

Favorite movie: Stuck in Love

Favorite TV show: Gossip Girl. She aspires to be like Blair Waldorf.

 

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