Advaith Bantval

Class of 2022
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Nonprofit Leadership and Social Innovation
Hometown: Plainsboro, NJ
High School: West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North

What Made You Decide to Attend UMD?
I decided to attend UMD due to its strong engineering program, access to Washington, DC, and it's big school atmosphere. When I visited for admitted students day, I loved the campus, everyone I spoke to, and the plethora of opportunities that would be afforded to me upon my arrival. I also enjoy the greenery and the campus-feel of UMD despite being on the outskirts of a major US city.

Best Experience with a Class or Project
My best experience with a class was in my first QUEST Honors Program class (ENES190H/BMGT190H: Introduction to Design and Quality). The entire class is a series of team projects ranging from design thinking to process improvement to data analysis and consulting. My team of five, while diverse in our academic backgrounds, worked very well together. Despite being sent home mid-way through the semester due to COVID-19, we ultimately did very well in our projects and still remain close friends to this day, two years later.

Favorite Class In Major
ENME351: Electronics and Instrumentation II

Favorite Class Out of Major
GVPT289J: Special Topics in Government and Politics; Uncertain Partners: US & China in a Changing World

Student Organizations/Extracurricular Activities
I am involved in a variety of student organizations and extracurricular events. I sit on the executive board for Theta Tau, the Professional Co-Ed Fraternity on campus. I am also involved with the QUEST Honors Program (for which I am in cohort 34), and the Federal and Global Fellows in Washington DC Program (for which I am in the Science Diplomacy concentration). Since I love policy and debate, I am also a member of UMD Model Congress and Coffeehouse Debate as extracurriculars. I also work with the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Engineering group through the Clark School, frequently compete in intramural sports, and serve as one of Maryland's Guayaki Yerba Mate ambassadors.

Favorite On-Campus Event
My favorite on-campus events are Maryland Basketball and Football games. On game days (especially Big 10 game days), the entirety city of College Park is so lively and energized. It's awesome to feed into that energy to support our athletics teams!

Favorite Research or Study Abroad Experiences
While unfortunately I was not able to study abroad due to COVID-19, since October 2020, I have been working with the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Engineering (ESRE) group through the Clark School to advance environmentally and socially conscious education through engineering programs at Maryland and other universities. This work has been extremely rewarding and engaging, especially working with some of the coolest professors across multiple university departments.

Cool Engineering Experience
Through Theta Tau, Maryland's co-ed professional engineering fraternity, I was able to participate in a STEM mentorship program with a local PG county high school's FIRST Robotics Competition. Other members and I were able to visit the school and work with the students through the design thinking process and teach them some applicable engineering skills that we were learning in the moment. Through this experience, I was able to teach students object-oriented programming function and the basics of Java. The most rewarding moment was when at the next session, they showed me the code they wrote and how they were able to control the robot!

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