Symonne Francis '22
February 4, 2022
Symonne Francis is a fifth year student in the mechanical engineering program. She is pursuing the accelerated dual degree option to earn her bachelor's and master's degrees in five years.
Program: Mechanical engineering, BS/ME accelerated dual degree program
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Student Organizations: National Society of Black Engineers, Engineers of Color Creating Opportunities (ECCO)
Student Awards: Dean's list, 2022 Mechanical Engineering Graduate Scholar Award
Why did you choose engineering?
"When I was younger, I always had an interest in problem solving and working with my hands, so my mom put me in a camp called Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK), which was sponsored by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The camp exposed us to various engineering challenges in a fun and competitive environment, which is what sparked my interest in engineering as a future career path."
After graduation, what are your career goals?
"Even as a senior, I still don't know what I want to do in the future, but I do know that I want to develop new skills through various engineering roles and be able to travel for my job. I am fortunate enough to have already accepted a full-time position for after graduation, with a company that not only has plenty of room for growth and learning new skills, but also opportunities to travel. Also, at some point, I would like to end up in a leadership role, such as a supervisor or project manager."
As we celebrate Black History Month, what stands out to you? Why is it important?
"What stands out to me is that so many of my ancestors sacrificed their lives and happiness so I can be where I am today. It's not only important that I develop as a strong, independent, Black woman in STEM but also lift up and inspire others to do the same. Black History Month always encourages me to be the best version of myself, not just for me, but for those who toiled before me and for those who travel behind me."
Why is it important to have organizations like ECCO on college campuses? Can you share some examples of activities that take place?
"I am so glad I have been involved with ECCO since my freshman year because it has felt like a secondary family and community on campus for me. While attending a predominately white institution (PWI), it is always reassuring to know I have a support system in ECCO. I know it's Dr. Venessa Mitchell's (the founder and director of ECCO) goal to provide us with resources and beneficial college experiences, especially to ensure we graduate on time. Events like the ice cream social, students and alumni "meet & greets," the study jams, game nights, and mental health check-ins all make for great activities whether that's for social events or networking opportunities."
Favorite spot on RIT's campus: Fireside Lounge and the ECCO Center
Favorite thing to do in Rochester:
"I like exploring anything in Rochester as long as I'm with friends, but some of the things I enjoy are Comedy at the Carlson, Radio Social, Mad Hatter, and the mall."