Reagan Vernengo

Robotics Engineering Technology and Mechatronics Engineering Technology (SOET)

What made you decide to choose your specific major?

My passion for STEM and robotics began in elementary school, where I joined the robotics club. As the years progressed and I became more involved in the STEM world, I became very fascinated with software, and how technology can be implemented to accomplish tasks. While I was already very fascinated with the technology of automation, I went to a summer camp a couple of years ago that really delved me further. There I experienced a robot that served to help people with dementia. The researchers learned that speaking every day with someone with dementia helped them, so this robot is basically a companion for those patients. Hearing about how this technology can actually help others helped me fall more in love with the idea of automation, AI, and what this technology can do. I hope that once I graduate from Purdue, I can go on to implement amazing technology like this robot.

What are a couple of your favorite things about your program of study?

I specifically chose robotics at Purdue with the Polytechnic Institute because of the type of learning that the Polytechnic Institute implements. I love all of the hands-on learning that we have here. It really helps me to connect what I learn in the classroom to real life. I am confident that once I go through this program, I will be prepared for the workforce.

What has been one of your favorite class projects?

My favorite class project happened relatively close to the beginning of the first semester my freshman year. I was in my ENGT 182 class, a class that all engineering technology students have to take, and we were instructed to construct a robot from the parts kit that we had. The robot would then use the line sensor and ultrasonic sensor to detect a line of tape and follow it exactly. It was a very simple project, but the excitement I felt after completing the project was unlike other projects I have completed. Watching the robot run reminded me of why I was even here in the first place. It reminded me of my passion for my major after I was second guessing my major and my school– something that every freshman goes through once going away to college. However, this project gave me the confidence that I needed to continue what I was doing.

What other activities are you involved in on campus?

On top of academics and being a polytechnic ambassador, I am also a part of the Boiler Book Club. This is a fun little group that picks two books a month and then gets together at the end of each month to discuss them. I am also involved in Women in Technology and Women in Technology Learning Community, an amazing group of women who come together to have fun and support one another but also have many career development events as well.

What do you know about your program of study now that you wish someone had told you when you were choosing a major?

When deciding on my major at Purdue, I wish someone had informed me about how electrical robotics and mechatronics are. As a robotics and mechatronics major, you have to take many various electrical classes. I do not believe that this aspect would have changed my mind, however, it would have given me more insight into what work actually goes into these majors, and I could have been better prepared.

What would be one piece of advice for prospective students or new Purdue students?

My advice for future Purdue students is to take advantage of all the resources available to you on campus. While coming to college can feel very overwhelming and you may not feel like you know how to handle your courses, Purdue has implemented many amazing labs, office hours, and workshops specifically designed to help you through your workload.

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