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Game Nights, Robots, and Roche: Autumn Hotopp ‘24 (Engineering) Finds Family in R.B. Annis School of Engineering

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Congratulations to the University of Indianapolis Class of 2024! We asked our newest alumni to share their UIndy experience and their post-graduation plans. Meet Autumn Hotopp, who recently received her Bachelor of Science in General Engineering, with minors in mathematics, computer engineering, and Franco-Germanic studies!

Why did you pursue engineering?

Pursuing an engineering degree had always been my goal ever since I was little. I was working on math problems at the summer camp I went to, and one of the counselors told me that I would grow up to be an engineer because I thought like one.  This sparked a little light in me to work towards that goal. Since then, my passion for engineering has only grown with every new thing I learn, from wiring and coding an arduino to light up an LED my freshman year, to finishing my senior year with competing in the National Robotics Challenge with a combat robot, engineering has been an amazing journey and has taught me so much. 

Why did you choose to study at UIndy?

UIndy had a variety of appealing factors for me, like being close to home. The deciding factor however, was getting to see and understand the culture. Before my freshman year I came to campus to compete for an engineering scholarship, which means I got to witness how students and faculty communicated with one another, and those around them. It was a comfortable environment, and somewhere I felt safe in. I knew I’d be able to build close relationships with my professors and peers, which wasn’t a feeling I had gotten from other universities I had visited. 

Are you a part of any extracurriculars (RSOs, societies, student leadership, teams, volunteerism, etc.) on or off campus? If so, what are they and what is your role?

I am the current president of the SWE RSO (Society of Women Engineers). I have also been a student member since my sophomore year. I am also a student member and former Vice President of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) RSO, and a student member of UIndy Racing Club. Additionally, I volunteered this year through MEPI (Minority Engineering Program of Indianapolis). This year was filled with a ton of fun outreach opportunities as well, so I was able to connect with, and teach so many about engineering and how the School of Engineering  is unique and fun. 

Have you received any honors or awards (from UIndy or from outside organizations)? If so, please tell us about them!

I received the Outstanding Junior in DesignSpine award at the inaugural DesignSpine Expo and have been on the Dean’s list four semesters in a row. I’ve also received  the Engineering Distinguished scholarship all four years. 

Are there any faculty or staff members who have significantly impacted your time at UIndy? If so, who are they and how did they influence you?

Faculty and staff in the R.B. Annis School of Engineering have made a huge impact on me. It truly feels like I have built a little family in the engineering department and I will miss them. Dr. Megan Hammond, Dr. Paul Talaga, Dr. Joan Martinez, Dr. Joseph Herzog, and Gillian Ingold have been pillars of support, offering guidance that has been instrumental in my personal and professional development.

Dr. Hammond and Dr. Martinez helped fuel my passion for industrial engineering, and helped advise me as I navigated the graduate school application process. Dr. Talaga has always been a great help, and was always there to answer my questions. Dr. Herzog challenged me in new areas which helped me expand my critical thinking skills. Finally, Gillian was always a ray of sunshine walking into R.B. Annis Hall,  Her smile always brightened my more difficult days. 

During your time at UIndy, did you have the opportunity to complete an internship or earn part-/full-time employment with an organization in your field? If so, what was it and how did it help you professionally?

Last summer I worked as a Roche Academy Intern, which was my first internship! During the 12 week internship I was able to apply several of the skills I have learned through my time at R.B Annis, and develop skills that I was still struggling with. Each person in the cohort was given at least one project to work on that aligned with interests or skills they had, and some people had multiple smaller projects. I was given the opportunity to work with one of the workforce management teams.

With the guidance of my manager, Bryce, I was introduced to the world of real-time adherence (RTA) and workforce management (WFM). At the end of the 12 weeks, I presented all of the information for my project to a senior leadership panel, and to Bryce’s manager and the WFM team. Outside of the project, we also completed rotations to learn about our offsite implementation center (OSIC) and our national service center (NSC), and get hands-on experience with the diagnostic equipment. I enjoyed being at OSIC. I learned a lot about the installation of the equipment, and I felt like I was able to apply what I learned in facility planning since OSIC is a newer process and building. After this internship, I was able to take away important skills about working in a field with those who had different backgrounds. I was also able to gain insightful feedback from the team on how I could better myself and really prepare myself for my future career. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be attending Western Michigan University for my Master’s in Industrial Engineering. 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at UIndy?

One of my favorite memories is from this past year. In the engineering school, we started a weekly game night event to help build the engineering community and bring people together. One night in particular, after our end of the semester potluck, Professor Martinez joined a large group of us and we played JackBox games. The evening was filled with so much laughter as we all learned a new side of our professor. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Find a good balance between having fun, and focusing on school work. Enjoy your college experience, but remember to not get carried away or behind in schoolwork either. Find that middle ground. It’s okay to take breaks and go enjoy time with friends. 

Also, utilize your Google calendar. Set up your school schedule, work schedule, and even personal events. It will help so much for group projects, and when you need to meet with a professor. You should also book time to sit down and study.