Rozie Yeghiazarian is as passionate about engineering and technology as she is about art and design. It makes sense the Hollywood, Calif., native is looking forward to combining those right-brain, left-brain disciplines and, as she says, “inspire a new approach to technological obstacles, one that involves both the quizzical frown of an engineer and the vibrant imagination of an artist.” She is only one of 10 undergraduates chosen from more than 500 applicants from 65 countries to be awarded a BlackBerry four-year tuition scholarship this year—given by the company to young women seeking degrees in STEM programs, with a particular interest in mobile computing.
Question: What brought you to RIT?
Answer: RIT is known for the two fields I am interested in. I can delve deep into my love for engineering and industrial design. The environment is brilliant for inspired ideas and creative discussion.
Q: How did you hear about the BlackBerry Scholar award?
A: A mentor from my high school FIRST robotics team thought I might be interested in it. I spent every free moment seeking and applying to every scholarship I could find in the hopes of earning money to help pay for college. This was the first scholarship I had seen that I could connect with on a personal and professional level, so I pounced on the exciting opportunity with everything I had.
Q: Winners were selected “for their passion for entering the mobile computing industry.” Describe your passion for mobile computing.
A: I’m thrilled to be one of the recipients. As a BlackBerry Scholar, I’ll receive a scholarship, BlackBerry device, as well as mentorship and professional opportunities. I will also be paired with a BlackBerry employee as my mentor throughout the program. I aspire to incorporate my experiences from both mechanical engineering and industrial design and change how we interact with mobile computing devices. My two diverse interests have become my unique and progressive perspective. Earning respect within these communities, I will promote gender equality within my surroundings and help increase opportunities for young girls considering a future in STEM. I see myself working on the next generation of the BlackBerry Z10 model, tinkering with the already high-end user interface, and tapping into the vast potential that is the app market.
Q: What activities are you involved with on campus?
A: On campus, I am a member of Engineering House, and to stay physically active, I started rock climbing at the Red Barn. I made it into RIT’s competitive dance crew, Velocity—we choreograph our own pieces, teach, practice, perform and compete. I will be joining the RIT chapters of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers. Now that I have gotten accustomed to college life and worked up a schedule for myself, I feel prepared to take on more extracurricular activities.
Q: Why did you choose engineering as a major/career field?
A: Coming out of high school, I was certain of one thing regarding my future: I am a designer. My goal is to create and run a design firm that will work on numerous projects and have the capabilities to handle front-end industrial design and back-end mechanical engineering work.
Q: What advice would you give young women interested in pursuing STEM programs?
A: Anyone with even the slightest interest in science, technology, engineering or mathematics should take the time to explore that curiosity. For women, entering a STEM field is a commitment that may require overcoming gender discrimination and becoming a better individual because of it. It is a commitment to look at a peer and know them for their abilities as opposed to their gender. For those of us already pursuing our interests, it is our responsibility to support and encourage those who are just beginning their journey or on the verge of diving in.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: Currently, I am focused on mechanical engineering. The next step is to earn a graduate degree in industrial design for a well-rounded transition into product design and development. After gaining the appropriate knowledge and experience, I will create and run my own design firm.