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Cockrell School of Engineering

Have a question for Michael, Harini, Lauren, or Ishi? Email ugs.events@austin.utexas.edu.

Michael Pontikes Michael Pontikes
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Plano, TX • Senior

Resources you used in deciding your major: I used resources such as the Vick Center, academic advisors, departmental advisors, and resources posted on departmental websites.
Why did you choose your major? I picked electrical and computer engineering for my major due my interest in computer systems and the variability of industries that I can apply my degree to. Having an engineering degree does not just mean that you have the technical skills required to do the job, but also have the ability to solve challenging problems, a necessity in any industry that I might enter into. The degree also allows me to explore the topics that I find most interesting in the program.


Harini Shanmugam
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Shrewsbury, MA • Sophomore

Resources you used in deciding your major: I looked up degree plans and technical cores on the Cockrell website and spoke with older students and friends in different majors about their experiences to help me decide my major.
Why did you choose your major? I chose ECE because of my interest in statistical analysis working in combination with computer systems and its wide range of applications in different industries. There are so many tracks within the ECE umbrella that are very different from one another, so it took awhile to figure out that my interests in statistics and computer science fell within that umbrella. Moreover, the constant development in fields like data science and software engineering also interest me to keep learning more about them.


Lauren Takata Lauren Takata
Mechanical Engineering
Athens, Texas • Senior

Resources you used in deciding your major: When choosing my major, I utilized the Vick Center, Wayfinder, and researched degree plans online. I also had great support from my FIG mentors and advisors!
Why did you choose your major? I had a narrow view of mechanical engineering before college, believing it centered on gears and car engines. I was surprised to find how much the field actually encompasses; from health to energy and aerospace, mechanical engineers have their voices in fields far beyond manufacturing and machinery. The diversity of the field and challenging nature of ME drew me in and continues to push me beyond my perceived limits.


Ishi Tripathi Ishi Tripathi
Chemical Engineering | Finance
Allen, TX • Junior

Resources you used in deciding your major: UGS Academic and Career Advisors, Engineering and Business Info Sessions, LinkedIn, Wayfinder, Alumni Guides/upperclassmen, UT degree plans
Why did you choose your major? For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to work towards affordability in healthcare. But could never find a single major to help me get there, and could never choose between the STEM side and the business side of my dreams. So, after a lot of soul searching and resource-exploring, I decided to pursue both: by double majoring in chemical engineering and finance!