Emma Katovich didn’t know much about Clemson University while growing up near Chicago, but then a family friend suggested that she check it out because everything from its size to its atmosphere was what she was seeking in an institution of higher learning.
When Emma visited during Homecoming 2019, she took a tour, saw the parade floats on Bowman Field and watched the Tigers trounce Boston College at Memorial Stadium.
“When we came back from the visit, every single time I pictured myself on a college campus, I pictured myself at Clemson,” she said.
With a start like that, it’s no wonder Emma has distinguished herself where the Blue Ridge yawns its greatness. Emma, now a rising senior majoring in mechanical engineering, was recently selected as a Jansen Family Emerging Scholar.
She will join three other Jansen Scholars in planning a series of events aimed at bringing together mechanical engineering students so that the less experienced students can learn from the ones further along in the major.
They will be working alongside Dr. Fadi Abdeljawad, who was recently named the program’s faculty lead and serves as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering with a joint appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Jansen Family Emerging Scholars launched in 2017 with a generous donation from mechanical engineering alumnus Patrick Jansen and his wife, Carey.
Emma has deep roots in STEM education that will serve her well as a Jansen Scholar. She grew up attending Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science, a conference for girls in the fifth and sixth grades.
Her mother, high school chemistry teacher Tanya Katovich, was a 2020 finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year, and in 2019 she won the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Emma will be a mentor as a Jansen Scholar, but she also knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the equation. She said that as a member of Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity, she has been able to reach out to older students to ask about everything from which classes to take to where to get help with projects.
“Having those older mentors really helped me as a younger engineering student,” Emma said. “I’m hoping for a similar experience with Jansen Scholars, more specifically with younger Emmas. I’ve been there before so why not be able to help them out?”
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