Nandita Sampath

Class of 2017
Electrical engineering & computer sciences/materials science & engineering

When did you know that you wanted to become an engineer?
I actually wanted to be a theoretical physicist or something crazy like that when I started college, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that I was more interested in building things than conducting experiments. I think I was really drawn to engineering in my first circuits course. I found the designing and building process more satisfying than anything I had done in previous classes. I also realized that getting an engineering degree opens up a lot of doors. I’m not really sure what I want to do after graduation, but I think I that the rigor of engineering classes has prepared me for pretty much anything. 

Why did you choose Berkeley Engineering?
Nandita SampathNandita Sampath (Photo by Preston Davis)I really liked the idea of going to a large research university, because there are so many opportunities available, if you spend the time looking for them. Every department at this school does really cool things, and being an indecisive freshman, I knew I couldn’t go wrong in picking a major or interest. 

What do you like most about Berkeley Engineering?
The people here are great. I’ve met some of my best friends in classes and been taught by faculty who are famous in their fields. Everyone is really diverse and motivated, and I’ve been inspired by them to do my best every day. 

What are you working on?
Over the summer I worked at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, where I performed heat treatments on superconducting wires that will be used to make magnets for CERN’s particle accelerator. I’m currently working on fabricating and testing semiconductor devices in a research lab on campus. 

What else do you do outside of class?
I teach a physics lesson on magnets in local elementary school classrooms. I’m also a peer adviser for the College of Engineering. For fun, I like to play basketball, go to concerts and hang out around Berkeley. 

What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about science education. I want to get rid of the mental barrier that prevents kids from wanting to pursue a career in science, and I think this problem starts from a young age and is especially prevalent in underprivileged areas. I hope to contribute to making science a more inclusive field. 

What are your future plans?
My future plans change frequently, but recently I’ve become interested in renewable energy. I’d like to work on materials research for solar cells. Long term, I think it would be cool to work for the government in energy policy.

Read more student profiles.