Name: Victoria Mulvihill
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Major: Systems Engineering
Why did you choose UNC Charlotte?
Before my junior year of high school, my aunt asked my mom and me if we would drive to a concert with her in Charlotte. She supplemented the proposition with “I think there is a college with an engineering school nearby.” At this point, I was just starting to look into where I wanted to go to college and none of the Virginia schools were really catching my eye. We made the drive down, and it was beautiful. UNC Charlotte was everything I think I had always imagined “college” would look like. I fell in love. I spent the next year trying to find another school closer to home, but I kept comparing everything to Charlotte, and I realized that I was meant to be a Niner.
Who is your favorite professor and why?
Dr. Ertunga Ozelkan is my favorite professor, and I have had him for two classes while I have been a Niner. Dr. Oz’s classes were not easy, but they challenged me in a way that helped me grow as a student and a learner. In his Decision and Risk Analysis class, I was in a group project where I had the freedom to design an experiment that would determine which streaming service, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, was the “best” based on the cost using decision analysis tools. It was a fun way to learn and apply the material we were learning in class.
What are your immediate plans following graduation?
When I graduate in December, I am moving to the Washington, DC, area, where I will be working as a part of Team Submarine. I am looking forward to the excitement and opportunity in Northern Virginia.
What excites you most about your major?
I love the opportunity that a degree in systems engineering provides within any industry. Systems engineering is a blend of data analysis, optimization, engineering design, project management and economics that are all necessary for running a project.
What was your favorite or most memorable moment outside of the classroom?
Spring break 2020, right before we were sent home for COVID, I had the opportunity to travel to Budapest and Vienna on a spring-break study abroad with the University Honors Program. This trip allowed me the chance to visit a new country, try some great food, and learn about a new culture with my peers. I recommend a study abroad program, even if it is just for a week, to any student who is interested.
What do you know about yourself now that you didn’t know before coming to UNC Charlotte?
I know now that it is okay to change your path if you find your interests lie elsewhere. When you enter college right after high school, there are so many things that you experience in four years. Current industry fields change, some classes help you find your passion, and certain mentors will help you navigate growth.
If you could tweet something to your 12-year-old self, what would it be? (280 characters or less!)
Surround yourself with people who push you to be unique. Be your genuine self and do something you love. When anxiety strikes, remember that a test is not a tiger, take a deep breath, and try your best. Every opportunity to learn something new, can help you grow.
What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome to be where you are?
My biggest obstacle through college was myself - I had it stuck in my head that I HAD to be a mechanical engineer. No one told me that this was the major I should have, and no one was telling me I had to stick with it. My own ego refused to give up on the idea. Sitting in my childhood bedroom, April 2020 (two years into college), I realized that I did not want to be a mechanical engineer. I loved the idea of engineering, but finding the right discipline for my interests was where I kept getting stuck. When I heard about systems engineering, and the type of coursework and jobs that come from the degree, I was hooked. By allowing myself to change my major, I changed as a person and a student. If I had not made that switch, I may not be about to enter the same career path that I have already started and am excited about.
Summarize your Charlotte experience in three words.
Growth, Leader and Dedicated
Photo: Jordan G. Estabrook, University Communications