Meet our Campus Celebrity for the week, Kea Evans!
Her Campus: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Kea Evans: My name is Kea Evans, and I am a senior in mechanical engineering graduating in May of 2018. I’m from a small farming community called Carrollton, IL (population of 2600). I am the co-founder and current president of Women in MechSE, an organization under the MechSE Department which focuses on inclusiveness and leadership of women through departmental societies. I am also the current External Vice President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Outside of school and RSOS, I also work for Caterpillar, Inc as a parallel co-op student working about 10 hours per week at the Research Park facility and continuing that into summer internships. I will be returning to Caterpillar for my 4th summer as a design engineer on Medium Trac Type Tractors in East Peoria.
HC: What is Women in Engineering?
KE: Women in Engineering (WIE) is a college-wide program dedicated to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for female students in the College of Engineering. The wide range of WIE programs varies from student recruiting, workshops, seminars, undergraduate advising, orientation for new students, and a residential camp for high school girls.
HC: How did you get involved with Women in Engineering?
KE: I became involved in WIE by attending their Freshman Orientation. With this program, I moved onto campus early, explored campus, met some of my best friends and study partners, and felt more prepared for college. WIE Orientation played such a significant role in starting my college experience off right in that I have volunteered to be a mentor for the past three orientations. I also plan to be a mentor next year. Besides Orientation, I have been able to volunteer at their Orange and Blue Day lunches, attended workshops, written postcards to potential engineering students and more.
HC: Why is the program important to you?
KE: WIE Orientation played a significant role in my college career. Coming from such a smaller area, I only knew a few people on campus. Because of WIE Orientation, I was able to sit with friends on the first day of class, met my lifelong best friends, and knew my way around campus. I also gained mentors (friends now) of upperclassmen who I still consult for advice and met advisors and deans. I have continued to stay involved as much as I can because of the mentorship that I received that I want to make sure others have those people they can turn too as well as I truly enjoy being a mentor/ friend to others. The Women in Engineering office always has open doors and can answer any questions or give advice. This is a valuable resource for all.
HC: What do you plan to do after school?
KE: After graduation, I plan on going into industry hopefully continuing to work for Caterpillar or a similar company. STEM Outreach has also been important to me so in some way, I hope to give back and interest more students especially females to pursue STEM fields especially those who are from smaller towns like myself. Outside of that, I hope to be a coach for either softball or cheerleading someday.
HC: Do you have any tips for young women in your field? (I could write a book)
KE: As cliché as this sounds, be yourself and follow your own path. Everyone creates their own story and path more in college than in high school (from experience). This is important as the University of Illinois is one of the nation’s top engineering schools. Everyone will take classes at a different pace, be involved in different clubs, and find their own interests. So be yourself, do what interests YOU. Be confident in your abilities, but feel free to ask for help if you need it. The