Desarae Echevarria has always wanted to be a part of something bigger than herself – to be a force for positive change in the world. A senior in mechanical engineering, she is already well on her to reaching that goal.

Originally from Melrose Park, Illinois, Echevarria graduated from Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy before coming to MSOE. Competitive and determined, Echevarria credits her brother and mother as role models in her life.

“I am a unique woman,” Echevarria said. “I stand out because of the color of my skin, the size of my hair, who I hold hands with, how much time I spend in office hours, etc. I believe that I am the sum of all the people I meet and events I’ve experienced, whether they’re in person, virtual, or through books.”

During her time at MSOE, not only has Echevarria achieved academic success, she has made a difference in the world community as a member of Global Brigades-MSOE, the student chapter of the non-governmental organization that empowers under-resourced communities to meet their health and economic goals with help from student volunteers, industry partners and local residents.

She was part of a team of more than 70 MSOE students who went to Nicaragua in February of 2016 to support medical, water and infrastructure projects in the community. Echevarria served as a member of MSOE’s first Public Health Brigade - a team focused on empowering rural communities to prevent common illnesses through in-home infrastructural development, community leader training and health education.

In 2017, Echevarria was named one of the New Faces of Engineering – College Edition by DiscoverE. The DiscoverE (formerly National Engineers Week Foundation) mission is to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration and volunteerism. New Faces of Engineering – College Edition recognizes engineering students who have dedicated themselves to using their skills and education to help engender a better world. Echevarria was nominated by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).

“NACME inspires and encourages excellence in minorities,” Echevarria said. “My drive to be an amazing engineer coincides with NACME’s mission.”

In addition to her studies, Echevarria is a student-athlete, participating in cross country and track and field. She is also a member of the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi. She has also made the most of many internship opportunities while attending MSOE. Echevarria has interned at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois and JW Speaker in Milwaukee; and has participated in research projects at the University of Illinois and Loyola University Medical Center.

“My internships provide the experience and the application to what I’ve learned in my ME track, and they’ve all helped me find what I don’t love,” she said. “My career goals are to be a part of something bigger than myself – to use the knowledge and resources I have to make the world a better place.”