PLTW Engineering Shaped My Educational Journey

Anna “Nicki” Liu is a PLTW Engineering alumna who will attend Purdue University. She previously attended Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Arizona. 

PLTW has played a huge role in how I found out what I wanted to do with my life. For me to have the opportunity to participate in the STEM field, through PLTW, and do a subject that I previously thought was a "boys-only" field helped with both my self-confidence and allowed me to develop my own personality not held back by gender norms. I know for certain that without PLTW, I would have never had the thought to do anything related to engineering or science when I went to college because I thought I would never be good enough or even allowed to do that.

The PLTW program introduced me to aerospace and astrospace engineering and allowed my love of space and math to flourish, leading me to realize that I wanted to work with that subject for the rest of my life. I think that it is a great program that more schools need to be a part of because it allows students to apply their knowledge while still in school and provides them the chance to experience engineering and its principles to see if that is a career they would want to consider. My PLTW program for engineering set me on a totally different path from what I had wanted before, and I know it was for the better. It inspired me to want to become better and do better than I previously had, and I will be doing something that I will love and devote myself to.

The PLTW program helped me to establish myself at Boulder Creek High School through engineering and its club. I took on leadership roles in Engineering Club and got the position of engineering intern for the class. I took advantage of the classes I could take and took advanced math, advanced physics, and all four years of engineering. The senior capstone project I did for my fourth year of engineering helped set me apart from other potential candidates in my college search. I also participated in the engineering competitions hosted by SkillsUSA and went on to get the position of Region 5 Treasurer for SkillsUSA my junior year. All of these opportunities afforded to me by my school, PLTW, and SkillsUSA set me apart from other seniors and allowed me to get accepted at the college I want to go to.

Next year I will be attending the Honors College for first-year engineering at Purdue University in Indiana. Out of all the applicants, I received the Trustees scholarship, which only 100 applicants receive. I plan on going on to the Astrospace Engineering course at Purdue and hope to get an internship with NASA. After I graduate college, I want to work for NASA, and I eventually plan to become an astronaut and be one of the first people to go to Mars.

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of this guest author.