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Future Students

Elena Shoushpanova

Elena Shoushpanova

How did you become interested in engineering and in UW MSE in particular? Tell us about the pathways leading you here.

I have worked in the semiconductor industry for nine years. I like the constant problem solving it involves. However, I always felt the desire to know more about the fundamental side of material sciences to think from different perspectives. In 2016, I had an opportunity to relocate to a technology development factory in the pacific coast area. It was an eye-opening experience for me to see how technology development is carefully designed and executed, which made me have a strong desire to strengthen my fundamental knowledge. Shortly after my relocation, I started the application for graduate study. I picked UW because I wanted to be surrounded by prestigious faculty and talented peers during my studies. Besides, the Pacific Northwest area has always been my favorite spot for various reasons. When I got the admission letter from UW, I did not even have to think twice.

Tell us about an interesting internship or research lab experience.

I worked in a technology development factory for 16 months. There were endless problems to solve every day. I enjoyed that time very much because I liked working together with bright minds to solve challenging problems. I like the feeling of pushing myself to my limit because without trying, I'd not know I could go this far. I learned to be calm and confident even if I need to go beyond my comfort zone as a result.  It was an excellent experience for my personal growth, both professionally and personally.

What do you enjoy most about UW MSE?

I enjoy the collaborative and friendly environment. People are very approachable. Whenever I have questions, I never have to worry that I won’t find someone to ask. It is not just for lectures but also during my lab work as well. I think this atmosphere is very critical to UW's success.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Be fearless in pursuing your dream. Stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring beyond what you know bring you unexpected rewards.