Student Highlights: Sana Ahmad

Photo of Sana Ahmad

Sana Ahmad at the Joseph N. Pew Sundial on the Engineering Quad.

Major: Mechanical engineering
College: Engineering
Hometown: East Stroudsburg, Pa. (emigrated from Pakistan at age 14)

Main Cornell extracurricular activity – why is this important to you?
Working two terms at General Electric-Energy: one term in the Power Plant Systems Department as an estimation analyst, programming and implementing software, to estimate the cost of highly customized heat recovery steam generators designed to be installed in power plants; and one term in the Steam Turbine Technology Department, conducting heat transfer and flow analysis. This co-op experience allowed me to apply classroom knowledge to real projects at GE.
During my co-op, I was also very involved in such GE community outreach programs as Kids Day, which promoted science and math among youth. I volunteered to teach math and business economics to middle school children, as well as for the Special Olympics.

Did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
I have been exposed to many different cultures and people here, and that has really helped me become a well-rounded person; it's amazing how much you can learn from talking to people with different backgrounds.
Also, as an immigrant from Pakistan, I am closely tied to my cultural and religious values. The challenges that I have faced as a result of my values have strengthened my beliefs and taught me that it's more fun to be different!

While at Cornell, what other accomplishments/activities are you most proud of?
Taking advantage of the opportunities at Cornell, such as doing research in tunable fluidic lenses and nano-optics with Professor David Erickson; analyzing photovoltaic performance, energy balance and integrated systems performance of solar houses as part of the 2007 Solar Decathlon; researching magnetic coupling feasibility on the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Team; and finding time to participate in cultural and religious activities through the Pakistani Students Association and the Muslim Educational and Cultural Association.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?
Learning to ski at Greek Peak and tumbling off the lift every time; bubble tea and apple crisps late at night; planning birthdays in the gorges in the rain; experiencing Ithaca's culture by visiting the Apple Fest and Chili Cook-off; and, of course ... pulling all-nighters, then waking up an hour later to work in the machine shop!

What are your plans for next year and beyond?
Finishing my Master's of Engineering in systems engineering by December through its online program while starting work in the fall at ExxonMobil in Houston, designing sub-sea equipment for sub-Arctic and deepwater projects offshore Australia and Africa.