Abundant Opportunities to Achieve
For Rutgers Honors College student Priti Kantesaria, who graduated in May with a degree in industrial and systems engineering (ISE), Rutgers offered a world of opportunities. “Rutgers gives you the chance to become the person you want to be – as long as you’re willing to pursue it – and there are countless opportunities to do that here,” she says.
She credits retired ISE professor and undergraduate director James Luxhøj with encouraging her to not only take advantage of what the department offers in terms of academics and research opportunities, but to also immerse herself in a number of student organizations, including the Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineers.
Recognizing Kantesaria’s passion for humanitarian issues, Luxhøj also pushed her to join Rutgers’ Engineers Without Borders chapter her freshman year. Eventually, she was a leader on the Tanzania Project, which aimed to provide an arid community in Tanzania with a sustainable, self-sufficient water supply.
“It’s not about fixing a community. It’s always about serving a community,” she explains. “Knowing that even though we do come from a position of privilege to have resources and opportunities to help people out, it’s not about solving their problems for them. It’s about working with other people to put in a sustainable solution that’s going to help the community in the long run.”
She admits that her time at Rutgers has bolstered her commitment to sustainability and co-development. “This has changed my perspective on what successful advocacy and change really are,” she says.
Kantesaria, who served as RUSA (Rutgers student government) treasurer and sexual violence education chair and president of Rutgers NO MORE, believes her greatest achievement was making a difference on campus by championing efforts to support survivors of sexual violence at the university. “I’m proud to say that my focus on sexual violence advocacy has created safer spaces for survivors around campus.”
The opportunity to engage in faculty-led research also positively impacted her SoE experience. Luxhøj invited her to join his research project on the flight risk of drones. “He gave me the freedom to design the parameters of our simulation, so I chose to focus on post-natural disaster relief efforts,” Kantesaria recalls. “Through this project, I was able to present at local and national research symposiums and share my achievements with the systems engineering community.”
These hands-on learning experiences are sure to serve Kantesaria well when she heads to Washington, D.C. in August to start a full-time job with Deloitte as a federal technology consulting analyst.
In addition to her academic, research, and leadership achievements, Kantesaria insists she especially treasures the memory of competing in the Cardboard Canoe Races during her senior year. “I was in charge of running the event my first two years at Rutgers, and then I served as MC, so I had four years of built-up anticipation. With my teammate Melissa, while dressed as Lilo and Stitch, I was able to make it across the Werblin Pool,” she says. “It was an exhilarating and memorable night in my engineering education.”