Patrick Mispireta arrived on campus ready to prove his abilities as an engineering student in a rigorous degree program.
What he discovered is, yes, ambitious goals are important. But taking advantage of outside-the-box opportunities would push him farther than he ever imagined.
Even though I’m from South Carolina, I didn’t grow up visiting Clemson. Still, it was always on my radar because of its academic reputation. And — as a first-generation college student — I love that I can attend a top national public university without leaving the state or being far from family.
No one gets through college alone. My first year I was paired with an awesome mentor in the PEER/WISE program, which supports underrepresented students pursuing STEM fields. Now I’m the familiar face encouraging freshmen to take classes together and study in groups. I also facilitate educational events for middle and high school students (they learn coding by using alpha and beta brain waves to move robots).PEER/WISE » Opens New Window
Founding the Latin Dance Club and a Latino fraternity were unexpected endeavors that have created fun, meaningful spaces for minorities to find community. The Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers is another organization where I’ve been challenged to take a leadership role and built exciting career connections.
Little did I know when signing up for a Creative Inquiry course that my team’s research would qualify me to receive a scholarship from the National Science Foundation to study abroad in Singapore. International travel gave me the confidence to set up my engineering co-op rotations in three different states so that I could continue to experience new environments.Creative Inquiry » Opens New Window
Co-ops and internships allow you to work under a professional in your field of study. Most importantly, they help you figure out what you actually want to do after graduation. Immersion in the workplace inspired me to change my major from chemical engineering to industrial engineering, where I could translate my problem-solving skills into hands-on solutions.
Clemson offers a welcoming and inclusive environment where empowered individuals unite to make a positive impact on our world. We believe an outstanding education requires engaging with unique perspectives — because when people of diverse backgrounds come together, they expand the horizons for us all.