Students of the Month: Nikki Reinemann and Tracey Sisco

April 2012 By

The Engineering Students of the Month for April 2012 are Nikki Reinemann and Tracey Sisco.

Name: Nikki Reinemann

Nikki Reinemann, 2012 Goldwater Scholar, is exemplary among her peers. She demonstrates a positive attitude, competence and concern, and has earned the respect of the faculty and fellow students. She worked as a research assistant, conducting original work published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry. She also worked as a NASA Marshall Space Flight Center academy intern.

Hometown: Batesville, Miss.

Area of Study: Chemical engineering, chemistry

Classification: Senior

Hobbies: Playing the trumpet, camping, traveling and spending time with family

What piqued your interest in engineering?

"Through my involvement in a variety of activities during high school, I discovered that I find the sciences very interesting and fulfilling. After taking advanced chemistry and mathematics courses, I began to look at careers that would involve these skills. Chemical engineering piqued my interest because of the combination of utilizing fundamental science and making it applicable to society."

What's the most important quality to possess to be a successful engineer/engineering student?

"Work ethic is the key to being a successful scientist or engineer. [Some people] might be smart enough for the job, but if they are not willing to put their all into their work, they will eventually fail. Conversely, a good work ethic can help if [they] might be somewhat slow in understanding some concepts. They will at least have the gumption to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This integrity not only leads to the job getting done but [also] getting it done well."

What do you plan to do after you graduate from Ole Miss?

"I plan to finish my B.S. in chemistry [and then go to] graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in chemical engineering with a research focus in energy innovation. I have always wanted to assume a position where I could change the world for the better. I felt that a career in STEM, specifically engineering, is an excellent way to accomplish that goal."

Name: Tracey Sisco

The independent work Tracey Sisco has performed under the supervision of her faculty adviser, Christiane Surbeck, has been accepted for inclusion at the World Environmental and Water Resources Conference of the American Society of Civil Engineering and submitted for publication in a related professional journal. Sisco is driven by an intense desire to help people as demonstrated by her work in a summer internship that included a visit to earthquake-damaged Haiti to help design an orphanage there, as well as by her design work in support of an Engineering Without Borders project in Togo, Africa, as well as many local projects.

Hometown: Pontotoc, Miss.

Area of Study: Civil engineering

Classification: Senior

Hobbies: Traveling, art, kayaking, hiking and disc golf

What piqued your interest in engineering?

"As I began to take civil classes, I discovered I particularly enjoyed those focused on water and the environment. Around the same time, I became involved with Engineers Without Borders and discovered engineering can be used to help many people in the world, such as those without access to clean water or sanitation. Through my years of study, I have seen how civil engineering provides services to society that are essential, which has been a source of motivation for me."

What is your advice for potential engineering students?

"If I were given the opportunity to address the incoming freshman class in the School of Engineering, I would share with them the favorite phrase of one of my mentors: "Have adventures." One of the unique and wonderful aspects of college is finding where your skills and passions meet. Opportunities for college students are available in abundance, and I have experienced great rewards by exploring those that interested me."

What do you plan to do after you graduate from Ole Miss?

"After graduation, I plan to go to work full time. I also have a passion for using engineering to serve those less fortunate, particularly in addressing the problem of clean-water scarcity in many developing countries, and so I plan to continue volunteering and using my skills as an engineer in that manner as well. It's possible that one day I may even live overseas and use engineering as a part of full-time missions."