Carnegie Mellon University

Formal headshot of Andrew Thompson - Class of 2022

CEE Spotlight: Andrew Thompson

By CEE DEI Committee

Known across the CEE department as a cheerful, hard-working undergraduate student, CEE junior Andrew Thompson is recognized for having the “best smile” in the department. But most importantly, his exuberant disposition personifies the welcoming and inclusive environment that CEE strives to develop and maintain. For Andrew, it is not only his demeanor that exemplifies this inclusive mentality but also his actions.

As a high school student, Andrew got his first taste of CMU during a Summer Academy of Math and Sciences (SAMS) session. Initially, Andrew was convinced he would become an engineer at the Hershey’s chocolate company so that he would have access to their store of unlimited candy and sweets. But his exposure to CEE faculty during the sessions inspired him to fulfill a somewhat greater calling to change the world in more tangible ways by pursuing a degree in civil engineering.

In high school AP classes, Andrew was usually the only black student and he felt like he constantly had to prove to himself and to others that he belonged there. Those experiences made him hesitant about whether he belonged in academia and if he could really become an engineer. “There aren’t a lot of black engineers,” says Andrew, “so it was hard growing up because I didn’t see people who looked like me in the places where I wanted to end up.” Hoping to save others from those same doubts and feelings, Andrew decided to pursue engineering to be the person who others could look up to and believe they could make it too.


This story demonstrates CMU's work toward attaining Sustainable Development Goal 10 of the 17 Global Goals to create a more equitable and viable planet by 2030.