Rachel Briskey

Industrial Engineering


I knew I wanted to be an engineer by the sixth grade. When junior year came and the college search began, my college counselor gave me a list of schools known for engineering where I could also continue playing bass in orchestra. Bradley was on that list. I wanted a school where I could play bass, but not necessarily have to major or minor in music.  My visit to campus assured me that Bradley was the right fit and I decided to apply for a special grant program called STEM.

The day I found out I was a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) scholar was the day I decided on Bradley. I was wandering around the mall when my admissions counselor called to tell me I’d been chosen.  I probably made the biggest fool of myself dancing in the aisle while I was on the phone, but I was so excited to know I was coming to Bradley.


I moved in a week early along with the other 11 STEM scholars for a summer bridge program. Within our first three days on campus we were split into two teams and given two hours to build a robot. The challenge was to have the robot move a certain distance and deliver a golf ball to a precise spot on the floor marked with an X. We built our robot, Wally, out of Legos and programmed him in the computer lab. It took us three or four tries, but within the allotted time frame Wally transformed from a childhood toy to a master of precision!

The group projects helped us learn to work as a team, but also built great friendships between us. Those of us living in the dorms were put into a learning community where we all live right near each other.  Anytime I need help, there’s someone else close by to help me.  Being a STEM scholar has not only provided me opportunities like my learning community, but also the opportunity to make some of my best friends here at school.