Engineering and Excellence

Lauren Brownridge grew up in suburban Aurora, Illinois, an hour outside of Chicago
and 800 miles from Greensboro, NC. A whiz in math and science, Lauren asked her
calculus teacher for college recommendations and was handed a brochure about the
College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T, a school she had never heard
of.

When it was time for her college tour, Lauren convinced her father (against his
wishes) to turn the family car south and check out this school with a growing
reputation for turning out top-notch engineers.

“I fell in love with A&T then and there,” says the senior, who is months away from
earning her degree in electrical engineering.

Lauren’s calculus teacher isn’t the only far-flung missionary for A&T. Lauren
describes the annual career fairs at A&T, when recruiters from Fortune 500
companies swarm the campus for a weekend of resume swapping and interviews.
Many of these companies have hired A&T engineers in the past and are back for
more.

“We’re competing with students from bigger schools—their basketball teams are
on TV—but recruiters come to A&T from all over the country for our engineers,”
Lauren says with a hint of pride.

The College of Engineering is small enough to foster a tight-knit and supportive
community among students and faculty. Lauren remembers some upperclassmen
encouraging her to apply for a United Negro College Fund engineering scholarship
that included a summer internship. She followed their advice and ended up winning
the scholarship two summers in a row, interning at the Marathon Petroleum
Company in Louisiana.

The internships proved to be hugely rewarding experiences. Mostly, she was turned
on to a particular field of engineering—power systems engineering—that she
wants to pursue in graduate school.

Lauren had learned the fundamentals of power analysis in a Circuits class, “but I
learned a lot more on my internship, because I was applying the principles to real-
world situations,” she says.

UNCF was so impressed with Lauren’s story that they chose to feature her in a
video during their annual An Evening of Stars fundraiser on BET. Click here to watch Lauren’s
video and learn more about the mission of UNCF. Then find out more about the
College of Engineering and A&T Career Services.