Gliding across the Milwaukee River before sunrise on a crisp spring morning may seem daunting to most, but for architectural engineering student Monique Landry, the swift water, rising sun and sound of her teammates’ oars behind her provide the comfort of home.
“Being a part of the MSOE women’s rowing team has been one of the highlights of my college career,” said Landry. “It has made me stronger, faster, and most importantly, connected me to some of the most important relationships in my life.”
The camaraderie and stability from her coaches, peers and teammates is something the Kenosha native didn’t always have growing up. Living without her parents by age 15, Landry found herself growing up fast and determined to go to college and find a career to support herself.
After graduating at the top of her high school class, she wanted to pursue engineering not only for its financial stability, but also for the variety of areas you could pursue.
“MSOE’s small size suited me, and it was one of the few to offer a degree in architectural engineering. I was also excited at the possibility to learn both technical and artistic forms of engineering.”
Thanks to philanthropically funded scholarships at MSOE, Landry’s dream became a reality.
As a recipient of the Dr. Alan Ruud ’69 Scholarship, College Endowment Association Scholarship, and Plumbing Mechanical Sheet Metal Contractors Alliance Scholarship, Landry has had the ability to pursue her degree and discover new passions and ways to improve the world around her, unburdened by financial concerns.
When she is not practicing or competing, Landry volunteers for MSOE’s STEM to Stern initiative. The program, which was founded at MSOE and has now spread to campuses around the country, removes barriers for youth in underserved areas and connects them to swimming lessons, supplementary STEM education and the Milwaukee Rowing Club’s middle school rowing team.
“The STEM to Stern program is ran entirely by MSOE rowers and is an incredible opportunity to give back to the local community through engineering and rowing, two things I love,” said Landry.
She is also a member of the MSOE chapter of Engineers Without Borders and serves as project manager. Their latest project was to create a water distribution system for a village in rural Guatemala.
“We designed a gravity-fed water distribution system that will allow 1,050 villagers access to clean water.” Over the summer, Landry traveled to Guatemala to help implement the water system.
Back in the boat, through the repetition of each stroke, Landry reflects on all the treasured memories and opportunities she has been given because of the generosity of others who believed in her.
"Each of these opportunities has been so rewarding and contributed greatly to my development as a leader. I am so lucky to be supported by many generous community organizations, and I hope I have demonstrated my commitment to paying their investment forward and using the privilege of my education to strengthen our community."