By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend
Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 is ready to make its mark on the world! We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next couple months, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.
Today, we’d like you to meet Abigail Gilmore:
Major: Plastics Engineering Technology
Hometown: Waterford, Pennsylvania
On choosing Behrend: My older brother attended Behrend and discussed with me the benefits of attending a smaller school and the opportunities I would have to engage with my professors on a personal level. I know from growing up here that Behrend has long been recognized for its engineering programs, so it seemed unnecessary to search all over the country for the right school when I had one of the best so close to home.
Love at first (lab) sight: When I saw the plastics lab during my tour of Behrend, I knew I had found my major. Plastic polymers were something I knew very little about even though I interacted with plastic materials on a daily basis. With an interest in sustainability, I was intrigued by the idea of reducing the impact of plastic on the environment and finding a career where I could contribute on a global level.
Campus involvement: I have been a member of both the cross country and track and field teams during my four years at Behrend. I’m also the current president of Tau Alpha Pi, the Engineering Technology National Honors Society, and secretary of the Plastics Engineering Club.
Challenge accepted: One thing I’ve really worked on during my time at Behrend is my willingness to accept a challenge. As a high school student, I often found myself shying away from opportunities where failure was a likely possibility. In college, I just decided to try new things and take on new responsibilities even if I worried I couldn’t do them. The more I did it, the quieter that doubting voice in my head became and my drive to work harder to pursue each opportunity became stronger. In the end, this resulted in great gains in my time management skills, a decrease in my fear of failure, and a boost in my self-confidence.
What you’d be surprised to know about her: Up until my sophomore year in high school, I had intended to pursue a dancing career after graduation and go to college when I got too old to dance. Now, just a few years later, I’m graduating with an engineering degree and competing in NCAA Division III cross-country and track and field!
On a love for learning: College allowed me to discover just how much I love learning. As a senior, I chose electives that I found interesting, rather than classes simply to fill my major requirements. I love reading articles about new breakthroughs in science or running experiments to prove, or disprove, my scientific hypotheses.
Abigail has accepted a position as a plastics rotational engineer in TE Connectivity’s automotive division in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, following her graduation in May.