Penn State Engineering Ambassador Meghan Riegel width=
Meghan Riegel

Computer Engineering & Masters in Computer Science and Engineering
Class of 2017

Hometown: West Chester, PA

High School: Academy of Notre Dame

Extracurricular Activities: Atlas THON, Nittanyville, Association of Women in Computing

Internship/Co-op/Research Experience: Cyber-Security Collaborative Research Alliance, GE Aviation

Why did you choose to come to Penn State? I am a third generation Penn Stater and one of three siblings to attend PSU. However, it actually wasn't at the top of my list at first, because I wanted to break away from the trend. I visited dozens of other schools throughout my Junior and Senior year of high school, but I found myself comparing them all to Penn State, and I couldn't connect with any of them as much as I was connected to the school in Happy Valley. I couldn't blind myself to the fact that not only is the culture at Penn State something you just can't find anywhere else, there are endless opportunities to do anything that you want to do. From having dozens of top programs, to doing world-class research, to being the best school for corporate recruiters, Penn State really is amazing.

What has been your best memory as an engineering student? My favorite memory as an engineering student so far was when I took Engineering Design in Singapore the summer after my first year. Not only did we create a really cool project, I was able to learn so much about a culture on the opposite side of the world. Engineers in the real world work with others across the globe; I got to start early!

What advice would you give a first-year engineer? Don't worry too much if you don't know what you want to major in. I came in as a mechanical engineer but I never quite felt it was something I wanted to do. On a whim, I took a programming class my sophomore year and loved it. The College was so helpful in telling me more about computer engineering and helping me switch. Since then, I have gotten involved in everything from extracurriculars to programming competitions to research. I have even decided to stay an extra year to get my Master's degree!

What do you plan to do after graduation? The lab I am in right now is focused on cybersecurity, so I would love to continue that. Maybe I will go into the private sector or maybe I will get my PhD! Who knows? :)

What has been your best experience outside of engineering at Penn State? Besides THON, my favorite experience has definitely been Nittanyville. We camp in a tent outside Gate A of Beaver Stadium for the football games from Wednesday night until kickoff. In 2013, we managed to be in the front row next to the tunnel when we beat Michigan in 4 overtimes! Football, and especially that game, in my opinion, truly show the amazing family that is Penn State and the passion and love that everyone feels for the University.