Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Shreya Desikan

Shreya Desikan

Biological Sciences and Psychology, Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Bio

“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.

Andrew Edwards

Andrew Edwards

Art, Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Bio

“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.

Russell Holbert

Russell Holbert

Music Performance (Voice), Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Bio

"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.

Joseph Paetz

Joseph Paetz

Electrical and Computer Engineering, Scholar Class of 2018-2019

Bio

“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. 

Scholar Class of 2019-2020

Cory Bird

Cory Bird

Biological Sciences, Scholar Class of 2019-2020

Bio

“I was aware Carnegie Mellon would shape me as an individual when I first stepped on this campus four years ago, but I would have never predicted to what extent.  It has been truly humbling to work alongside and learn from the most brilliant, passionate, and loving individuals that I have ever met.  I continually find myself being pushed by this community both in and out of the classroom, leading to immense personal growth and a deep appreciation for those around me.  The power that resides within Carnegie Mellon’s community to tackle incredibly difficult problems is awe-inspiring, and for that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to remain a fifth year and continue to contribute to its development.”

Originally from Sarver, Pennsylvania, Cory has deepened his love for Pittsburgh while studying Computational Neuroscience with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Carnegie Mellon.  The past four years have enabled Cory to explore the crossroads of his technical and social interests while identifying entirely new passions.  Some of his most impactful experiences have been involvement with the student service organization Project Rwanda, the first-year orientation program, and research in the HCI and Robotics departments.  He has come to learn that collaboration, creativity, and innovation are inherent aspects of the CMU experience and plans to use his fifth year to establish learning spaces on campus that accurately reflect these values.

Miranda Mlincek

Miranda Mlincek

Biological Sciences, Scholar Class of 2019-2020

Bio

“My time at Carnegie Mellon has been transformative. I have learned how to grow through hardship, and appreciate the brightness in each day. I have met the most incredible people from all over the world, from some countries I did not even know existed! These diverse perspectives are as valuable as gold. Through the good times and the bad, I have learned the limitless capacity of Carnegie Mellon humans to encompass me with all the love, hope, and inspiration I could ever need, and for that, I am forever grateful. These people, this environment—they have helped me find my voice and discover who I want to be. I want to give back in any way that I can and know that there are students on our campus who are still yearning to find their voices, and wishing for their voices to be heard. I see my fifth year at Carnegie Mellon as a time for me to discover those human stories untold, and advocate for people on our campus whose voices need to be heard.”

A hop, skip, and a jump from Pittsburgh, Miranda grew up in a small town on the west side of Cleveland, spending her summers surrounded by cousins swimming in Lake Erie and winters buried three feet in snow. Coming to Pittsburgh was eye-opening for her, because it is the first time she has lived in a city. Pittsburgh has taken on that feeling of home for her though, with a lot of the same midwestern feels of her hometown with a much more diverse population that has helped her learn about the world. Studying Cognitive Neuroscience has broadened her knowledge of human behavior and helped her choose a career in occupational therapy. Miranda believes in this concept of neurodiversity, where we begin to “see the able, not the label.” She believes each of us has things we struggle with that debilitate us, but that we also have incredible abilities to offer. She wants to bring neurodiversity to the campus conversation on diversity, and help students who feel stigmatized for their emotional and cognitive differences become advocates for themselves and gain a sense of belonging in our campus community. Miranda’s favorite CMU experiences have been working as an RA with Residential Education and traveling to Nicaragua to engage in a public health service project with the Global Public Health Brigade.

Joyce Wang

Joyce Wang

Computer Science and Arts, Scholar Class of 2019-2020

Bio

"At CMU, I am constantly amazed and humbled by the minds of my peers and mentors from all corners of campus. As a BXA student, I have the privilege to develop a perspective across academic spaces, but I wish that more people would get to appreciate the diversity of work that we are all creating here. I believe our campus will be stronger if we better understand how each other think. As a fifth year scholar, I want to serve as a facilitator, and create fun and comfortable environments for members of our community to get to know each other's minds."

Born and raised in Beijing, Joyce Wang is currently a student in the B.C.S.A. interdisciplinary program, studying Computer Science, Drama, and many things in between. Originally an engineering student, she found fulfillment exploring across the arts and humanities, and blending these fields through artistic practice and research. She has worked on the media design team for several theater productions, taught intro-level programming, and made and directed a multi-media experimental performance piece. She loves being a member of IMPAQT to connect students from the Pittsburgh and Qatar campuses. She also enjoys working with students in CMU Listens, a new initiative dedicated to cultivating a stronger culture of empathic listening on campus. Often finding herself in between different cultural and intellectual spaces, Joyce is passionate about creating interdisciplinary and intersectional dialogues. For her Fifth Year project, she is examining the history of interdisciplinary education and collaborations at Carnegie Mellon. Based on this understanding of history, she plans to organize workshops and games to disrupt existing academic silos and bring together people with different backgrounds and mindsets.