Rutgers logo
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

“There are so many staff and faculty members who care about the students and who will spend every free moment helping a student until they feel they have succeeded.”  – Allison Chen 

Young woman poses against a blue background. She has black hair and is wearing a black shirt.

Mechanical engineering major and mathematics and psychology minor Allison Chen, who juggles three jobs and a full course load, is an acknowledged leader. The engineering peer advisor (EPA) is a recipient of the School of Engineering Impact Leader Award for academic performance, leadership, and service to the engineering community. She also finds time to be a part of the Rutgers Rocket Propulsion Lab (RPL), aerobody sub team, where she could apply classroom learning to a real-world challenge. 

Why Rutgers? 

I chose Rutgers because I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone, and where I was known as the quiet kid. Going to a big school like Rutgers was a fresh start for me because it gave me the opportunity to discover who I am as a person without being limited by the opinions of others. Rutgers also felt like the best option for me since it offered every major I was considering at the time.  

Why did you decide on mechanical engineering? 

I initially discovered engineering in my junior year of high school on a field trip to Rutgers, where we saw presentations from several companies representing various majors within engineering. The mechanical engineering presentation drew my interest.  

What I most appreciate about ME is how diverse the field is and the limitless opportunities I now have available to me. 

What else surprised you about Rutgers? 

One pleasant surprise was discovering how much professors and staff care about the students. There are so many staff and faculty members who care about the students and who will spend every free moment helping a student until they feel they have succeeded. 

Have you had any internships? 

I had a six-month manufacturing engineering co-op internship with Nestlé USA in Freehold. This was my first real experience in the engineering industry, and while it was overwhelming at first, it was the first time I truly felt like my education at Rutgers paid off.  

Do you have any favorite mentors? 

I’ve worked with first year advisors Jessenia Cadena and Debbie Corcoran the past two years as an engineering peer advisor (EPA) and have seen how much they really care about every student that comes through their door. They have helped me grow exponentially as a person and have created a sense of family within the SoE community. Being an EPA has also let me give back to others who experience the same fears and challenges that I faced as a new student.  

What would you tell future students? 

It’s important and very rewarding to get involved in the school, as it can open so many new doors and allow you to meet so many new people. However, it’s not a race to become the most successful or involved student because everyone moves at their own pace.  

I didn’t become involved in my first school organization until my junior year – but over the past two years I’ve gained so much knowledge and experience.  

What three words best describe your SoE experience? 

Adventure. Growth. Family.