Kelsey Wittels ’15 – Civil Engineering

If you were to ask me what it means to be an engineer, I wouldn’t say it means to be stuck behind a computer crunching numbers, like you commonly hear. I would say it means a life of observing the world around you, finding tangible solutions and, most importantly, having the courage to implement them. Whether I am working on a rainwater catchment system in Nicaragua or a mass-dampening system for a building in downtown L.A., engineering will always be substantial part of my life. Thank you all for your support.

UCLA was enchantingly unfamiliar to me prior to my attendance. I come from a small mountain town in Northern California, so UCLA was a perfect dichotomy to my home; it had the ability to broaden my horizons and push me out of my comfort zone. UCLA’s prestigious engineering program had everything that I needed academically and allowed me to explore varied subjects before committing to my major. Moreover, I was excited by the idea of a large public school that could expose me to diverse lifestyles, communities, and an abundance of opportunities to explore.

The more time I spend as a student of UCLA Engineering, the more delighted I become to call myself an engineer. I expected studying engineering to be hard, but here I have been pushed to expand not only my intellectual capabilities but also expectations of myself. I have worked harder than ever before, but also produced some of the work that I am most proud of.

As daunting as future plans can be, UCLA Engineering has well equipped me for life after graduation. My fondness of academia has only been enhanced during my undergraduate career, so I plan to pursue a graduate degree in structural and/or seismic engineering, with UCLA being a likely host. Following that degree, I plan to join a company that specializes in structural design, or even explore the possibility of conducting research in the field of seismic engineering.

The Levi James Knight Scholarship makes a world of difference in my life. With the help of this scholarship, much of the strain of paying for college is alleviated and I can allocate the money saved towards a fund for graduate school.. This scholarship not only assists me in my undergraduate studies, but also makes my career aspirations more obtainable.