Emily LaBorde


Emily LaBorde, Industrial Engineering Student

How did you decide to come to UW-Madison for engineering?

I had known throughout high school that engineering was something I was heavily considering as a career. Because of this I applied to schools I knew had excellent engineering programs, Madison included. I was sold on Madison when I toured it and found out how truly great it is across the board.

What was your transition like during your first year on campus?

To be honest, I did struggle a lot my first year. The social shift was difficult for me, but over time I grew to be more comfortable in Madison, and I feel I excelled both in and out of the classroom as well as I could.

How did you choose your major?

I attended multiple camps and events in which people explained and demonstrated the differences between different engineering disciplines. By doing this I found out what I wasn’t interested, which helped me to determine what I was interested in. I realized that I was more interested in the people and a systems approach to engineering, which is why I chose Industrial and Systems Engineering.

How have you personalized your education?

I am pursuing a certificate called ISSuES – Integrated Studies in Science Engineering and Society. I wanted to do this so I could still have a broad education, utilizing my passion for societal focuses in addition to the scientific viewpoints I receive in my engineering courses.

What has been your favorite or most rewarding part of being a student on campus?

Personally, the most rewarding part of being a student on campus is being involved in such amazing organizations – feeling like I’m a part of something important. I have been involved in band and the Society of Women Engineers all four semesters of my college career so far, and just this past semester have significantly increased my participation in Engineers Without Borders. I was the Global Health and Culture Subgroup Lead for the Guatemala Program at UW and was also the Outreach Coordinator for the club as a whole. This was an absolutely fantastic experience and I hope everyone branches out to find a place they feel comfortable, because UW Madison has so much to offer and has a right place for everyone.

Have you had an internship/co-op/job that helped solidify what you want to do?

I currently have an internship as a manufacturing engineer intern at Rockwell Automation. It is just for the summer of 2017, but I love the company and the work I am doing, so I hope I get the chance to return. It has definitely opened my mind to different career paths I hadn’t earlier considered, and I’m so glad to have this opportunity!

Have you studied abroad or are you planning to study abroad? If so, describe your experience with the process.

I plan to study abroad next semester (Fall 2017) in Lyngby, Denmark. I am so incredibly excited and cannot wait to have many new experiences!

Are there resources that you would recommend to engineering students?

Please please please take advantage of office hours (the professors’ and the TA’s) as well as the free tutoring across campus. PRePS courses are also incredibly helpful in problem solving courses, and I think more people should take advantage of the resources provided.

What has been your favorite Engineering course? Why?

Technically the only engineering course (ISyE course) that I’ve had is Engineering Economy, which was not my favorite class. So far I have had intro courses such as Physics, Stats, Calc, Chemistry, Computer Science, Econ etc. I really liked the computer science I took (Python) because it was like learning a completely new language. I am so looking forward to taking more ISyE courses though! Human Factors, Production Planning, Simulations etc. I can’t wait to continue my undergrad full of learning classes I’m truly interested in.

What has been your favorite liberal studies course? Why? How did you choose it?

Some non-engineering classes (ones not required for my major) that I’ve really enjoyed have included Intro to International Relations, Gender and Women Studies, and Ballroom Dance. I love combining different ways of thinking – right and left brain – which is why I’m intending to receive that certificate I previously mentioned (Integrated Studies in Science, Engineering, and Society). I chose them because I was genuinely interested in them.

What final piece of advice would you give to incoming engineering students?

Don’t get too stressed about things. Yes classes can be very difficult, but I think it’s important to remember that you are human, and that you deserve to be happy too. Finding a balance between working hard for what you want and enjoying your free time is the most important thing in life.