Freshman Spotlight: Anisa Nuanes

Stephany Guerrero

 Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Involvement: Material Advantage, Kick Starter- Versa Phone Case, Undergraduate Research

From: Colleyville, Texas

How have your engineering courses been so far?

“The professors are very passionate about what they’re teaching. It’s interesting seeing someone with that much joy. I’m in MSE 280. Professor Allen constantly challenges what we know and the way we think about things. One of the most memorable conversations I had with him was about the melting temperature of materials involving his research. He asked me what the melting temperature of ice was, and I promptly said just over 32 degrees. But he told me it was a trick question because not all ice melts at 32 degrees it depends on the size of the sample--when you're looking at something on an angstrom scale.”

What was the IEFX Summer Scholars program like?

“One of my classes was ENG 198. We pick a problem and come up with a solution.  My group decided to focus on shelter. For example, in Somalia’s civil war, tent campgrounds are setup for displaced people. We designed a prototype tent that is cheaper then a UNICEF tent, more stable, and aerodynamic.”

Why did you choose Engineering at Illinois?

“This is where I qualify myself as an engineering nerd because I made an excel sheet where I tracked every college I wanted to apply, their ranking by engineering fields, deadlines, ACT score range, internship positions, etc . It really was an extensive process. Illinois was in the top 25 and, the 1st I got into and the one I accepted.”

Why do you like engineering?

“The camaraderie formed around working towards completing a goal. It really is the pure passion you see in people.  Engineers are some of the most passionate people because they follow a problem from beginning to end.”

What advice would you give to a high school student?

“In high school they’ll say you have until senior year to figure out what to do. But it gets busy junior year in high school with testing and senior year is busy with applications. Start thinking by sophomore year of what you want to study.”

What are you involved with outside the classroom?

Here is the 3-D printed model of the Versa phone case Anisa's group made on campus.
Here is the 3-D printed model of the Versa phone case Anisa's group made on campus.

“It has to be something that I really enjoy or I’m not going to put 100 percent of myself into it.  I recently joined Material Advantage. They’re a great group and I got to jump right in by working on an EOH project.

“I’m also part of a Kick Starter project with three other freshman from IEFX. We engineered a phone case where you can put any type of attachment on it, like a stand or bumper. It’s called Versa and it started when my friend Andre said how it would be cool to wrap headphones around your phone without it being extremely bulky.  The idea morphed into making sleeker phone cases with detachable parts. We are going to meet with Illini Tech to collaborate and hope to have it up in a couple months. Every time something happens, like when we 3-D printed the case, there is an obnoxious amount of joy!

“I do research with Professor Allen in MatSE in 2-D crystals. My first project was to build a voltmeter, which is really cool, because it’s something seniors do in their first lab for electric materials.”