What's in your backpack?

“A tape measure,” said Sophia Martin, a mechanical engineering senior who designs and sews many of her own clothes. Because of her lifelong interest in design (she won a fashion design contest in high school), Martin originally planned to concentrate on apparel design and math, but later decided on a mechanical engineering major with minors in design and math.

“It’s such a versatile engineering major,” she said about mechanical engineering.

Although she isn’t sure what her career path will look like, she hopes her mix of right-brain and left-brain coursework will give her an edge when she’s ready to look for jobs.

In the meantime, Martin said she’s enjoyed all her courses, especially her high-level math classes and a seminar called Design for New Materials, which focuses on using textiles in various ways.

Despite her busy academic schedule, she took on a leader ship role during her sophomore year as treasurer of the Bentson Scholars Student Group. “The Bentson Scholarship has made a huge difference for me,” said Martin, who comes from a large family in Skokie, Illinois. “It’s a great group of people from dif- ferent backgrounds, with diverse interests. If I ever feel like I could get lazy, thinking about my fellow Bentson Scholars makes me want to push forward and be as successful as everyone else.”