Mechanical engineering sophomore Nida Yilmaz is one of two 2016-2017 40th Anniversary PROMES/Shell Engineering Retirees Scholarship awardees. She has been active in UH’s Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies (PROMES) since her first semester at the Cullen College. She said her experiences in the program have helped her become a stronger and more confident student. She now supports fellow undergraduate students as a Teaching Assistant for PROMES and is interested in becoming involved in STEM outreach programs to share her passion for engineering.
The scholarship of $5,000 helps Nida pay for tuition and academic materials, such as textbooks and living expenses.
Learn more about Nida’s passion for engineering in our Q&A below!
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be an engineer?
A: When I was in high school, I went to work with my dad one day. He works in the petroleum industry and I got to see this huge display of drills his company used and a diorama of the offshore platforms he worked on. He explained the roles of the different parts and how they all fit together. It helped me see how a little drill at the bottom is an essential component to make everything work. Seeing the details of how it all worked together made an impression on me.
Q: Why did you decide to study mechanical engineering at the UH Cullen College of Engineering?
A: I decided to major in mechanical engineering because, whenever I look at something, I want to see how the pieces fit together. In my high school physics class, we learned to apply scientific principles to the natural world and I was excited to understand how everyday things work without ideal conditions.
Everyone I’ve met from the University of Houston is very proud of where they came from and what they’ve studied. I decided to attend UH because I wanted to be part of that culture and be somewhere that felt like home. I’m from Houston, a city that’s known for being very diverse, and UH reflects that diversity on campus, too.
Q: What advice can you share with other Cullen College students?
A: Do not take it lightly. Sometimes students think engineering is just like every other major, but it’s so much more. The classes stack up on top of each other, so the subjects get more complex each semester. I think goal setting is really important to help you stay focused and PROMES has actually helped me with a lot with that.
Q: You have been involved with PROMES since your freshman year. How has the program made a difference in your academic life?
A: I was very shy when I first started college, but now I’m a lot more outgoing and involved in outreach. I had always wanted to be more involved when I was younger, but I was nervous. During my first semester with PROMES, I taught middle school girls about chromatography at an outreach event hosted by the UH Society of Women Engineers. Just being able to teach them and show them how to go through the steps was really fulfilling.
Q: How has receiving this scholarship helped you achieve your academic goals?
A: This scholarship is making it easier to achieve everything. Last year, I took a contracting job to help my family pay for college. But school is really like a full-time job, so earning this scholarship has made it easier for me to focus on school and get the grades I need without splitting my attention between work and school. Now I feel more motivated than ever because I know that someone believes in me.