Fifth Year Scholars
Scholar Class of 2017-2018
Computer Science, Scholar Class of 2017-2018
"Being a Carnegie Mellon student has opened my eyes to a world of opportunities I did not know existed. From a newly-discovered interest in the arts to my ability to work with world-class professors and researchers, CMU has taught me that you should never stop exploring, nor ever doubt your ability to make a real change. So when a chance to stay for an extra year presented itself, I could not help but hang to it as tightly as I could. To me, staying for a fifth year is not only about the extra classes that I will attend nor the skills that I will develop, but it's also about being able to share this insight with others. Through my community project, I hope to create an environment for programmers all over the world to explore their interests in as much depth as possible and discover their true potential as well as show it off to the world."
Aliaa is a senior in the Computer Science program. Raised in Egypt and moving to Qatar when she was 15, Aliaa has embraced the leadership opportunities at CMU-Q: she was president of the Computing Club, head of academics in the Student Majlis (Student Union), Head Orientation Counselor and a volunteer in the CS4Qatar, CS4Qatar for Women and Botball outreach programs. She has also worked as a course assistant in courses such as Writing for Academic Practices and Parallel Data Structures and Algorithms. In addition to her involvement in campus life, Aliaa conducted research projects both on and off campus. She is now working on her senior thesis in the Networking Systems Lab. During her semester in Pittsburgh, she developed an interest in the arts, especially in film photography, which inspired her to apply to the Fifth Year Scholar program so she can return to Pittsburgh and take more arts classes. Aliaa has proposed a community project called The Hack Games, which will allow computer scientists and programmers to develop and show-off their skills to potential employers.
Art, Scholar Class of 2017-2018
“Over the past four years, I have had the opportunity to work with students across majors, develop skills and training on machinery I didn’t know existed and create work I didn’t think I was capable of. CMU has a way of bringing out the best in its students, and I truly believe that what I gained from Carnegie Mellon, I couldn’t have gotten from any other school.”
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Lauren knew she wanted to attend Carnegie Mellon from the time she was in fourth grade, but it wasn’t until her junior year she learned of the school’s reputation. Carnegie Mellon prides itself on interdisciplinary collaboration, and the moment Lauren got to campus, she sought out ways integrate technology into her artistic practice. Sophomore year, Lauren became involved in the IDeATe program and her work saw an immediate shift towards robotics. Lauren’s work attempts to expose the humor and humanity in robots through video, sculpture, performance, and installation. In addition to making art, Lauren loves sharing her knowledge with others. During her fifth year, she hopes to continue this skill share by developing a set of guided robotic projects for middle and high school students.
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Scholar Class of 2017-2018
“I am in love with the Carnegie Mellon community. One of the things that make our community so wonderful is its very diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives. I think we can do more to explore the distance between these backgrounds and perspectives, both for the voices in our community which are not heard, but also for those in our community who do not understand those voices. The exploration and questioning of my own identity privileges is helping me to both understand my current self better, as well as become a better person. These questions about privilege and identity are often messy and imperfect, but I am always glad to have asked. Through the Fifth Year Scholar program, I hope to continue this exploration and challenge for myself, but also to share in this questioning with other members of our campus community.”
Nick came to Carnegie Mellon from Blacksburg, Virginia, a small college town in the Appalachian Mountains. Nick is majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering, with a double major in Engineering and Public Policy. While he has learned a lot in his classes, some of his most salient growing experiences have been through other campus involvements: being a Community Advisor, a Course Assistant, an upper class Ambassador for first year students, an Orientation Counselor, and a member of the University Disciplinary Committee and Academic Review Board. These experiences, as well as his everyday interactions with his fellow students, have helped Nick to learn from the perspectives of others. His project goal is to imbue campus culture with a comfort in uncomfortable dialogue. He hopes to accomplish this through a recurring retreat for student leaders, to develop listening and dialogue skills.
Scholar Class of 2018-2019
Biological Sciences and Psychology, Scholar Class of 2018-2019
“I am forever inspired by the individuals that make up Carnegie Mellon, by a community of people that work from their hearts and imbues everything that they do with passion, love and care. This community that has pushed me to learn and grow, but also has supported me through every success and failure. I want every student here to discover the passion, support and love that I see every day: in each interaction with peers, faculty, staff and senior leadership. I believe the essence of enabling this discovery is changing campus culture around wellness. We, as a community, need to work together to build from the bottom up the proactive wellness culture that this Carnegie Mellon needs.”
Originally from Westchester, New York, Shreya has come to fall in love with Pittsburgh while studying Biology and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon. At Carnegie Mellon, she has not only found a place to nurture her passions for medical research, but also somewhere for her to widen her personal narrative and to grow as a person. Her most meaningful experiences have been working in Residential Education as a Resident Assistant & Community Advisor, performing with the CMU Soundbytes, and the philanthropy work she has done with her chapter of Delta Delta Delta. As a first year, Shreya was introduced to campus wellness initiatives through CMU’s Mindfulness Room, and she has been committed to helping the Carnegie Mellon Community on its own wellness journey ever since. With her Fifth Year Scholar project, Shreya is working to empower student leadership to come together to achieve a proactive wellness culture on campus and to create a more holistic, supportive experience for every member of the Carnegie Mellon Community to come.
Art, Scholar Class of 2018-2019
“It was essential that I attend a university that would push me. I wanted to be propelled towards personal and professional growth, and in no way coddled. Visiting the CMU campus for the first time, I knew I’d found that. While it has been incredibly demanding, my time at CMU has expanded my thinking and my art more than I ever anticipated. At CMU I’ve enjoyed a refreshingly balanced academic and artistic focus in the School of Art, learning not just how to create but how to conceive. Outside of class, I am constantly inspired and energized by the work of my peers. The various students here pour so much of themselves into their work, creating a contagiously passionate environment that I can’t get enough of. As a Fifth Year Scholar, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to continue to partake in the CMU experience for another year, but more importantly give back to the amazing community I’ve grown to love.”
A first-generation college student and Texas native, Andrew Edwards is a Fine Arts Major with a minor in Special Effects and Animation. Andrew believes that when art is made accessible, it has the power to be a powerful cultural catalyst. In his work, Andrew has found a timeless accessibility in animation. He has always found animation to be intrinsically immersive, communicative, and memorable. Andrew aims to capitalize on these qualities to create enchanting visual experiences, providing spaces for escape, pedagogy, and growth.Through this, he aspires to positively shape the culture of future generations, just as animations from his young age have done for him. Andrew also seeks to make art accessible by bolstering visibility and technological literacy. Having access to CMU’s creative facilities was extremely formative for Andrew, but not the norm among students, so Andrew has dedicated his fifth year to remedy this. The more people acting as forces of creation, the more we can learn and grow together.
Music Performance (Voice), Scholar Class of 2018-2019
"Carnegie Mellon has been a place of turning points for me. In my time here, I have not found success or failure without meaning, and my identity as a student and an artist has been deeply shaped by those experiences. I believe in reflection of experience in the form of music, and see the creation and cultivation of our musical culture as a way to enhance how our campus community celebrates."Russell Holbert is a senior Vocal Performance Major with a passion for contemporary art music. His project seeks to integrate new music into celebrations and major events for the campus community, to better explore the shared student experience through art. Originally from Fitchburg, MA, he came to Carnegie Mellon with the sole purpose of studying music, but soon found many roles to fill in the campus community. As a peer leader, Russell has worked in the Office of Residential Education for both the summer PreCollege Program and as a Community Advisor for the Intersection residential community. As a performer, he has performed in several operatic productions within the School of Music, as well as with the CMU Treblemakers a cappella group. As a creator, Russell is a student of music composition and has collaborated on multiple writing initiatives with Scotch'n'Soda Theatre.
Drama, Scholar Class of 2018-2019
“I believe we have enormous power to influence change in our world when we recognize the way in which much of our lived experience was constructed through the successive events of our history. I see opportunities for such change at many scales. I apply my analytical and technical mind to the design of tools, services, and policies and my expressive and critical mind to the design of conversations, artwork, and activism. My time at Carnegie Mellon and the faculty, staff, and peers I have learned from have helped me develop in these diverse ways and recognize the complementary value of diverse methods. The wonderful people I have met here have also taught me to be gentle with myself and others in a world of violent expectations and actions.”
Michael came to Carnegie Mellon University from Houston, Texas because he wanted to go to the best school for theatre design. While the breadth of the university’s offerings factored into his decision at the time, he could not have imagined the diversity of opportunities he has encountered. Michael declared Video & Media Design within Drama his sophomore year, but it was not until he attended Odyssey that January that his relationship to design and technology grew to where it is now. That conference led him to add a Human-Computer Interaction course and a few months later he was accepted into the additional major. This changed his trajectory and led him to his current work and studies around social change. Michael is studying behavior, structures, culture, and ideology at Carnegie Mellon and the influence they have on stress, mental health, and wellness in order to identify and act on opportunities to make Carnegie Mellon a happier, healthier place. Michael has enjoyed time in Treblemakers, Spring Carnival Committee, and IMPAQT and currently leads the Carnegie Leadership Consultants and serves on the Student Body President’s Cabinet.
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Scholar Class of 2018-2019
“During my time at Carnegie Mellon, I have been involved in many projects that have taught me things I never could have imagined before I came here. My experiences both in and out of the classroom have helped me grow as a person and challenged my mind on many levels. I have acquired completely new perspectives on how to think about and solve problems. I am so grateful to be involved in the 5th year scholar program so that I can continue to stretch my mind with new ways of reasoning as well as give back to this community that has provided so much to me during my time here.”
Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, Joseph is studying Electrical and Computer Engineering. Joseph's campus involvements include teaching Fun with Robots (a student taught course), working in the Robotics Institute, and participating in Kiltie Band. In his sophomore year he took a Physical Computing class in the IDeATe program on a whim, and loved it. He greatly enjoyed collaborating with students from different disciplines and backgrounds on technical and design problems. He has since added a minor in Physical Computing and has been a TA for two classes in IDeATe. These experiences helped him understand the immense value of working on projects with interdisciplinary teams that can effectively solve problems by bringing together different disciplines and skill sets. This was the primary inspiration for his project idea. Joseph hopes to build on the existing making culture on campus in order to help more students become involved in making as well as provide greater support for all makers.