Meet Allison Evans, a senior here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying biomedical engineering. She is a tutor, a tour guide for the College of Engineering, and is heavily involved with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), where she part took in a service trip in Kenya last year.
Senior year, for both high school and college students alike, is a time of change and reflection. To help make this transition a bit clear and hopefully less stressful, here is Allison’s advice for high school seniors preparing to embark on their college journeys, from one senior to another.
What made you decide to attend UMass Amherst when you were applying to colleges?
When I was first looking at schools, I was very adamant that I did not want to go to UMass since I came from a big public high school and a lot of us attend UMass. It still checked all of my boxes: big school, not in a city but still has stuff to do (Amherst, Northampton, the school itself is a city), a good engineering program. I went to visit it to at least give it a chance of changing my heart, and it really did. As soon as I drove up to campus, I understood why so many people go to UMass and it immediately became my top school. The girl who gave my tour was so nice and friendly, I loved the atmosphere of the school and the beauty of the campus. After my tour, I knew that UMass was where I wanted to spend the next four years.
How did you decide on your major?
I decided on biomedical engineering the summer before senior year. I always knew I was going to study engineering or some sort of science. I have a few family members in engineering, and in middle school I took part in an after-school program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute that focused on getting young girls involved with STEM. I was conflicted on what type of engineering I wanted to pursue for a while because I did not like the traditional mechanical or electrical engineering. It came down to chemical engineering until my mom's cousin suggested biomedical. As I did more research into BME, I realized it perfectly aligned with my interests: tissue engineering, genetic engineering, and pharmaceuticals. UMass did not have BME until I attended NSO, and I am proud to be a part of the pioneering class of the program.
What is your favorite UMass memory?
My favorite UMass memory is my first UMass memory. During my freshman year, I lived in Dickinson in Orchard Hill as a part of the engineering majors RAP. The very first day I met someone who would be one of my best friends throughout college. She lived across the hall from me and was also studying BME. She has been the reason I joined EWB and gotten through these four years. I still remember moving in and saying hi to her as she walked by, and later getting food with her that day. Laura brought me out of my shell and influenced my time at UMass.
What are your prospective post-UMass plans? How has your time at UMass prepared you for this?
I plan to work in the industry for a little bit before attending law school and pursuing a career in patent law. Through UMass, I have had the experience of working in a research lab, so I have been able to gain important skills before going into the industry. The UMass College of Engineering has an amazing career center that hosts multiple recruiting events such as career fairs and hosts company sponsor nights.
What advice would you give to a high school senior interested in attending UMass Amherst?
Attend the school that makes you feel at home. UMass immediately felt like home when I toured that first day. Even with COVID-19, attend virtual events such as open houses and tours to get a feel for the school and the people there.