At first, Loyola Marymount University senior Robyn Anderson was intimidated by the prospect of applying to the summer program at Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. She thought it was the kind of opportunity that other students were always fortunate to experience, but not her. However, after remembering one of her favorite speeches by Nelson Mandela, Anderson made a fresh determination to succeed.
“I began to ask myself, ‘Who am I not to be chosen for this program?’ After I finally received word that I had been accepted into the program, it dawned on me that nothing was out of my reach and if I truly set my mind on something, it could be mine,” said Anderson, an electrical engineering major and president of LMU’s chapter of National Society of Black Engineers.
Anderson and seven other students will study nonlinear optics in the program that was organized by the University of Michigan. The experience will provide her with more in-depth knowledge about the techniques used in international optics labs. Anderson said that she hopes that the program will help her when applying for graduate school.
“I’ll be researching among the brightest students in the nation while in Paris, and I hope that it will enhance my academic studies by giving me a more complete understanding of the applications of my course material and a greater appreciation for the beauty of a quality education,” said Anderson, who maintains a 3.6 GPA.
In addition to her strong academic record, Anderson also finds time to give back. She is a member of Engineers Without Borders and the Ignatian Service Organization, as well as a weekly volunteer at Westchester High School.
After LMU, Anderson plans to pursue a Ph.D. in optics with an emphasis on medical device engineering. “I defy the statistics [that determine] a young, African-American female from Gary, Indiana. I think it’s important for me to inspire enough young people to succeed so that together we not only defy those statistics, but transform them altogether,” Anderson said.