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Natasha Dada '17, Columbia University

"Working with the robotics team over the last three years I’ve learned about perseverance, resilience, creativity, hard work and determination. But most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about leadership and teamwork, skills that will definitely help me in college and in life."
Which teacher at Bryn Mawr has been the most influential?

Our robotics coach, Mr. Ecker! He has been an amazing mentor and coach and was the reason we had such a fantastic year in robotics. He is so supportive, but always encourages us to take the lead. He taught me a lot about engineering, design and problem solving as well as teamwork and leadership. He’s an absolutely incredible teacher.

What made you choose Columbia?

I am interested in studying engineering, so I knew I was looking for a school with a strong engineering program. But I also wanted a school which, like Bryn Mawr, has a diverse curriculum that would allow me to explore subjects outside of my primary interests. Columbia is a great fit. I’ve spent years at Bryn Mawr preparing for college and I finally feel ready to take a step into a new place with lots of new experiences and opportunities.

What are you going to miss the most about Bryn Mawr?

My teachers! They have made my experience at Bryn Mawr absolutely fantastic and I’ve learned so much from them both inside and outside of the classroom. They have been incredibly supportive over the past four years and have helped me grow as a student and as a person. I think the strong relationships between students and teachers is something really special about Bryn Mawr.

Which event did you most look forward to this year? Did it live up to expectations?

Our first robotics competition. I was excited, but also very nervous because it was early in the year and we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. We ended up making it to the final round, placing in five awards, and advancing to Maryland State Championships. It was absolutely fantastic!

What project or assignment challenged you the most as a student?

Making the robotics team’s first ever robot was extremely difficult. In the first year of the robotics program, we had no experience with the competition and started from scratch. Going from a sealed box of metal parts to a functioning robot was a huge challenge and I am so proud of what we accomplished, not only during that year but over the past three years.

How would you recommend the school use its technology budget? What kinds of devices or software would you like to see available to future students?

In the past few years, I think Bryn Mawr has done an excellent job investing in technology by creating the Innovation Lab and the robotics team and getting new technologies such as 3D printers and the laser cutter. Now that we have all of these incredible devices, I would use the technology budget to expand what students are already doing – for example, increasing robotics opportunities for younger students.

Describe your senior year in three words.

Hectic, challenging, fantastic.
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