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“Make a goal to find your community because that’s who gets you through challenging times – and who will also be there to celebrate your accomplishments.” Precious Opara 

A high school wrestler, Precious Opara is the co-founder and co-president of the Rutgers Women’s Wrestling Club (RWWC), which began as an idea her freshman year with a practice attended by only one other student. Today, the RWWC is on its way to becoming the first Division I women’s wrestling team in New Jersey history, an accomplishment for which she is justifiably proud. 

Why Rutgers? 

I ultimately chose Rutgers because of its large student population and its impressive engineering program. I knew that I’d be able to find a community here with a plethora of people from varying backgrounds. 

Female student with brown skin and long braids wearing a white blouse with khaki pants, leans against a red wall with one leg up.

What drew you to mechanical engineering? 

In elementary school, I enjoyed math to the point where I would complete math problems after school for fun. In high school, I enjoyed taking STEM courses. By senior year, it was clear to me that I wanted to be an engineer. I chose mechanical engineering because of its flexibility. It covers a little bit of everything when it comes to engineering disciplines. 

Have you overcome any personal challenges? 

As the oldest child of four in a single parent household, I put a lot of pressure on myself at times to be the best possible example for my younger siblings. During my time at Rutgers, I lost my grandma and uncle. The grieving process was tough, but I’ve been able to hold close to my Rutgers community.  

Have you had any internships? 

I’ve had two. The first was with Proctor & Gamble as a manufacturing and distribution intern. Last summer, I worked in Cupertino, California for Apple as a battery procurement analyst. The most impactful lesson I took from these internships – even above all the technical knowledge I gained – was how to form genuine connections with people you seemingly have little in common with. 

What about research? 

I’m currently conducting a research project with my vehicle dynamics professor Haim Baruh. After completing the course, I accepted the offer to further my knowledge of lateral motion vehicles.  

Besides RWWC, were you involved with any other extracurriculars? 

I had the privilege of serving as the Minority Engineering Educational Task secretary, where I got a chance to put myself out of my comfort zone and MC/host its first Ubuntu pageant. The co-ed pageant was a Black History Month celebration with 12 contestants, which drew attendees from various universities and Rutgers organizations. 

What are your future plans? 

Currently, I’m deciding which opportunity aligns with my career goals. The fact that I have multiple offers is all due to the Minority Engineering Educational Task. Without it and the people I met through MEET and career fairs, I don’t know where I’d be. 

What will you miss most about Rutgers Engineering? 

I’ll miss the Educational Opportunity Fund, or EOF. Whether I was having an amazing or rough day, the EOF office was always open, and I was always welcome to talk to any of the advisors. 

What is your favorite SoE memory? 

The solar eclipse. I had so much fun with my friends scrambling at the last-minute for solar glasses. I loved how so many students and faculty were outside to watch the eclipse. 

What three words best describe your SoE experience? 

Strengthening. Wholesome. Rewarding.