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Katreena Thomas

What is your role?

I’m a Ph.D. student in engineering education and systems design, and a master's student in human systems engineering at Arizona State University.  I am a member of the Shifting Perceptions, Attitudes, and Cultures in Engineering Lab group and my research interests include broadening participation in engineering, engineering leadership, and graduate student experiences in engineering.

Why you care about this prize, and what you hope this prize can achieve?

“Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” The sentiment of this quote highlights my excitement for this prize. As engineers, we are master problem solvers and it is our obligation to use that talent in service of building a world and society centered on peace. This prize presents an opportunity to recognize and amplify the accomplishments and work being conducted by engineers that are unfortunately often criticized in the engineering field. Through this prize, we will be able to provide different perspectives within our fields and encourage fellow engineers to recognize their responsibility to society so we can do our part to shape the future of the world we live in. 


Who are your role models?

I could easily list off 20+ individuals right now and the list is ever-evolving. But to highlight a few: 

  • My mom: For demonstrating the grace, grit, and patience that comes with pursuing a passion for education, teaching, and raising a community

  • My Friendtor (Friend+Mentor): For literally laying down the footprints for me to follow as a culturally responsible Black person in engineering. 

  • My POC engineering professors: For providing me with a blueprint for success and being transparent in their own journeys. 

  • My best friend for reminding me all the time that even superheroes need sleep.


What is inspiring you right now?

Some of the biggest inspiration pouring into me at this moment is seeing, witnessing, being involved in, and impacting the resiliency and excellence within the Black community.

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