Asha Kirchhoff





Class of 2015

Hometown: Park Ridge, IL.

Other campus activities: I’m active with SWE, the Society of Women Engineers. For several years I was a member of the SWE Outreach committee and helped to plan outreach events for girls like "Mommy, Me, and SWE" or "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day." I also participate in BMES, the Biomedical Engineering Society. Through BMES I do social and professional development events, as well as lead projects for Engineering Open House. In the past I’ve done projects on genetically engineered bacteria, antibodies, and the science of dance!

Research/Work Experience: Kimberly-Clark/Research Co-op/Aug-Dec. 2013; GE Healthcare/OMLP Intern in Product Sourcing/June-Aug 2015

Why did you join EA? I'm very passionate about engineering outreach. The reason why I'm an engineer is because I had teachers who went above and beyond to show me what engineering was and how it was possible for me. I just want to give that same experience back to a younger student. Of all the outreach groups I’ve been a part of, I like Engineering Ambassadors the best. We do great outreach, but we also improve ourselves through practicing good technical communication skills.

What’s your favorite part of being an engineering student? Engineering really enables you to go out and do anything. I love being an engineering student because I feel like I have nearly unlimited opportunities and I'm surrounded by other students pursuing so many different things. It's really rewarding to be a part of such an engaged community where your friends are always doing cool projects and there’s a lot of support for you when you decide to branch out and try something new.

What made you come to the University of Illinois? I chose Illinois because it was a great program with lots of opportunities, but also at a good cost. When I was looking at all the colleges I was accepted to, I wanted to attend the best school possible, but also not go into debt. Illinois gave me a scholarship, which I knew would make college affordable. I remember I toured campus and met with a BioE advisor and told them "these are all the things I want to do". They got out a course map and showed me how it would be possible to fit everything in. In that moment I knew that if I went to Illinois I would have so many opportunities, but I would also be taken care of. I’ve completely found that to be true.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursing a STEM degree? Go for it! A STEM degree opens up a world of opportunities. Everyone thinks that STEM is just math and science, but it's really about using math and science as tools to help you solve problems. A STEM degree helps you become an excellent problem solver, and that will open tons of doors to careers you didn't realize were possible. I know engineers who work for traditional engineering companies, but I also know engineers who have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, consultants, or members of the peace corps. If you want to see the world, a STEM degree will help you do that.