She is ME

Rachel Anderson, white, with almost no hair (due to alopecia), sits next to a poster for She is ME.

From the moment Rachel Anderson set foot on campus, she knew she wanted to have an impact on the University. Seeing a need for a group to support female students in her major—mechanical engineering—she helped create one.

Called She is ME, the group hosts events on topics like mental health, career building, and technical workshops. Anderson’s efforts have built a stronger community for the estimated 83 women (compared to 400 men) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and won her an award for student leadership.

“I want to see a world where science and research are not impeded by a lack of confidence in a certain gender,” says Anderson. “We need all of our top innovators and scientists working together to solve the world’s problems. Women can see engineering in a different way than men, and we need to embrace those differences.

“I’m very interested in urban farming, and I’d like to see if I can use engineering to bring in food to urban populations. I’d also like to reduce our human footprint through water management, recycling, and biodegradable packaging. On top of all that, I have an interest in robotics for human rehabilitation. I work in the Human Machine Design Lab with Mechanical Engineering Professor Will Durfee, and it’s really inspired me to use my design skills to create a device that’s going to give people their lives back.”