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Rachel Bilbo

Undergraduate Student
Hometown: Austin, TX
Major: Electrical Engineering
Minor: Spanish, Environmental Engineering

Never ever give up! You're going to fail exams and not understand the material and feel like you're the only one struggling. Everyone goes through it! If you work hard and do your very best, you will succeed.

Why did you choose to study electrical and computer engineering?

Originally, I chose Electrical Engineering because of the classes I had taken in high school that related to the field. I loved my calculus, physics, and computer science classes, and a combination of those subjects seemed to lead to electrical engineering!

Favorite Purdue ECE class (so far!) and why:

My favorite ECE class so far has been ECE 301: Signals and Systems. I'm very involved with music, and getting to see how sound signals are processed through speakers and radios just opened my mind to how many career possibilities there are within electrical engineering, and that I can use the skills I'm learning here to make an impact on an industry I'm so passionate about.

Best event or organization you’ve participated in within ECE?

I'm a member of the ECE ambassadors, which is the group that puts on tours and presentations for prospective Purdue students, first year engineering students, and alumni, showcasing the ECE department. Not only have I personally learned many interesting facts about our department, but it's also been such a wonderful opportunity to bust stereotypes about what ECE students are like. I definitely don't fit the image of a 'typical' electrical engineer, and getting to show people that you can be creative and outgoing and free-spirited AND an electrical engineer is such a unique and powerful opportunity.

Best event or organization you’ve participated in outside of ECE?

I'm a member of the Purduettes within Purdue Musical Organizations. We're a choral group of women that performs around the state, midwest, nation, and sometimes even internationally! Being a member of the Purduettes has not only allowed me continue singing in college, but it has also provided me with leadership, professional, and travel experiences that I never would have dreamed of having otherwise.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a potential Purdue ECE student?

Never ever give up! You're going to fail exams and not understand the material and feel like you're the only one struggling. Everyone goes through it! If you work hard and do your very best, you will succeed. It's not easy, but it's not impossible. It's okay if you need to go into office hours every week or you're overwhelmed and fail an exam. It happens! You can and you will recover and succeed!

Who is someone in industry that you look up to and why?

In industry, I admire the work that Elon Musk is doing. Not only did he define his goals, attack them, and achieve them, but the work he does is truly bringing the world into the future. He is changing the world, and he's honest about what will and what won't work.

What is your ultimate career goal?

My ultimate career goal is to be making a difference. I know, very cliche. But I won't settle for a job where I can't see the impact I'm having. I want to improve the world, and my goal is to have a job that allows me to do that.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time I like to participate in animal rights activism! Animal agricultural has a huge impact on the environment, your health, and so many other aspects of society. I like to educate people on these issues and hopefully make plant-based dining options more accessible to everyone.


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