#ILookLikeAnEngineer: Susmitha Rayakota
1) Why did you decide to attend UConn Engineering?
I moved to Connecticut right before the start of senior year of high school. Having just moved from the other side of the country, I knew I wanted to stay in-state and close to my family. I looked for colleges that cared for its students’ personal and professional growth, and my school’s guidance counselors spoke highly about UConn Engineering. I visited the Storrs campus, I met a few engineering students, and I fell in love with the program. And then, I found myself here.
2) When you’ve told people you were studying engineering, what kinds of looks or reactions have you gotten?
The most popular reactions involve something like “Wow, you must be smart then,” or other kinds of reactions such as “Oh that’s rough,” or “Good luck,” with a look of pity on their faces. Honestly, I found it kind of funny. It made me wonder what it’s like to view engineering students from the other side. I don’t think I would’ve really understood what that’s like unless I was in their shoes. The same thing would apply if roles reversed, I guess. You don’t fully understand until you’re living it.
3) Why did you decide to pursue engineering? Was there a specific moment or person who inspired you?
Growing up, I pushed all the buttons. I “accidentally” broke my parents’ TVs & remotes (sorry mom & dad). In my defense, I wanted to learn how things worked! I still do. I don’t think that’ll ever stop, and engineering seemed to be my best fit.
4) Tell us about your background. Where do you come from and what’s your family like?
My immediate family consists of me and my parents. My father’s career involved electronics and communications, and he took on various roles in his life as a solution architect, analyst, project manager and more. My mother’s undergraduate degree was in biology, but her career interests and pursuits are eclectic. She was a teacher at one point in her life, she was driven in finance, accounting, law, chemistry in materials, etc. Currently, she’s pursuing her master’s degree in Software Engineering. My parents’ aspirations led our family to relocate a lot. To paint a better picture, between Pre-K and 12th grade, I attended 10 different schools, UConn is number 11. I am beyond thankful for all of it. I had the time of my life being exposed to multiple cultures, places, people, foods, traditions, lifestyles and many, many more. Only to gather that every time we moved, there happens to be so much more I had yet to learn about and experience. Fortunately, my parents were consistently encouraging me to cherish every opportunity and learn the most out of everything that this world has to offer since there was no telling how long it would last. And I plan to do just that every day.
5) What are your career goals?
Ideally, I want to pursue a career that never ceases to challenge me. I want to help drive initiatives, enterprises, advancements, and more that positively impacts the world.
6) What’s your favorite experience been so far in your time at UConn Engineering?
While each and every moment added to my overall experience here, I’d say my favorite ones involve having the opportunity to proudly represent UConn Engineering as a member of Engineering Ambassadors at all of the outreach events organized through the Engineering Diversity and Outreach Center and the School of Engineering.
7) If you could start over, and go back to your senior year of high school, do you think you still would have chosen to pursue engineering?
I definitely would choose engineering if I were to have a do-over, without a doubt.