Honors College Profile: Mechanical Engineering student Dhiambi Otete

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Dhiambi Otete was drawn to the George Mason University Honors College as a STEM major with an interest in multidisciplinary topics with cultural and global implications. She was awarded the University Scholar designation and given the opportunity to be on Mason’s D1 Track and Field program, making Mason the perfect place for her.

About the Honors College, she says, “I liked the ‘spice,’ if you will, of Honors College classes. My classes ranged from a Global Hunger and Food Insecurity class to Business Models and Entrepreneurship. The possibilities were endless! It’s very important to engage different parts of your brain for true learning. “

Otete said engineering was perfect for her. “It stimulates my desire to create and design in an innovative way. Engineers are constantly thinking of new ways to solve problems. In addition, I enjoy how you can discover your niche inside the expansive world of engineering with its many fields and concentrations. I have a deep passion and curiosity for learning how things work, and the ability to solve these challenges concretely greatly interested me.”

One of her highlights was the capstone project, where her team built an unmanned surface vessel that can travel autonomously via GPS navigation to a near-coastal point of interest, transition into a vertical self-stabilized buoy, and then return back to its point of origin. She also has enjoyed her diversity and inclusion in engineering class. “I’ve had a lot of great discussions with peers, spoke at a global webinar, and wrote a research paper!”

She greatly appreciates her time at Mason. “My experience at Mason has been great thanks to the people I got to know. First, my track and field friends are great. We see each other at practice every day, have gotten to travel via plane to different states for meets, and been on long bus rides with each other, so as you can imagine we have some strong bonds!”

On her major, mechanical engineering, “It’s a small major, so I’ve gotten to know my engineering classmates! It’s been really inspiring to hear their stories of how they got into engineering, learn from them, and bond as friends. My scholarship cohort has been there for the past four years with me, and it’s been awesome having those people as an anchor since my freshman year. My research professor, Dr. Hazelrigg, has inspired me to continue asking questions. My professor and faculty advisor, Dr. McCue, has become a mentor for me. She is very passionate about learning and she makes me feel like I can succeed in my endeavors. I am in awe of her intellect and kindness, and I don’t think I would have gotten that at another university.” 

After graduation Otete is going to be a ship and design engineer. “I cannot wait to make ships! It is honestly the coolest job ever, and I love that I will be constantly stimulated in that environment,” she said.