Elshaddai Abamegal strives to explore and innovate
Your path in life is all the experiences you have, combined. This statement could not be more true than when you see it in action with recent Kansas State University graduate, Elshaddai Abamegal. As a mechanical engineering student, her college path took her all around the world (literally), and her undergraduate research pushed the boundaries of what we currently know about the world of engineering.
Elshaddai was awarded the Gilman International Scholarship. Congressionally funded, this scholarship helps U.S. undergraduate students participate in study abroad programs worldwide. She was one of two students to be selected for this scholarship at K-State last year.
Elshaddai traveled to the Czech Republic where she took engineering and Czech language courses. While taking these courses, she was able to explore the country and dive into the culture. “As a person of color in engineering, it is very normal to feel like an outsider, or feel like your experience is somewhat of an anomaly,” said Elshaddai. “Then you go abroad, where a classroom is not consisted of one race or ethnicity, but of different ones; it made me feel like I belonged. It made me appreciate my background and experiences as an immigrant-turned-U.S.-citizen, in addition to being open to others’ experiences and upbringings, as well.”
In addition to the Gilman Scholarship, Elshaddai is a K-State Cancer Research Award and Koch Impact scholarship recipient. During her time at K-State, Elshaddai had the opportunities to do research on the validity of estimation of secondary cancer from patients exposed to radiation, controls research to calculate the minimum coefficient of static friction required to successfully mobilize a miniature cart, and education research on the trends of academic mindsets behind engineering students who cheat on assignments and tests.
While most of her research does not sound like it would go together, Elshaddai spent most of her college career trying anything and everything to find her perfect niche in this world.
“I was deeply interested in how we can use nuclear engineering for medical purposes, and so joined the mechanical and nuclear engineering department. Then, with more design and mechanics courses under my belt, I wanted to do more of a design and analysis role as a research assistant, for which I joined the mechanics and controls section of the mechanical engineering department,” explained Elshaddai. “After that, I noticed that it wasn’t only me that suffered from severe Impostor syndrome in the engineering curriculum and internships, so I wanted to learn more about that, for which I joined my last research experience in the field of engineering psychology.”
Each time Elshaddai moved to a different subsection of her research, she gain more knowledge of where she wanted her path to go. Her research knowledge and her love of going abroad is what brought her to her current career path. “I am seeking opportunities to work abroad within my firm (Deloitte),” said Elshaddai. “I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to explore and hone in on my skills and interests, if it weren’t for research. I was able to try different things, and as a result, had a realistic expectation of what I wanted to get out of my professional experience.”