Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Brown

Freshman showcases engineering project

Elizabeth Brown, 19, is originally from Eagan, Minnesota. Elizabeth graduated from Eastview High School, Class of 2018. She is currently studying Engineering Fundamentals at Inver Hills Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in fall 2020 to pursue mechanical engineering, mathematics, and technical writing. Her career goals are to obtain a mechanical engineering position that ideally works with sustainability or medical devices.

Elizabeth at Explore Engineering
Elizabeth at Explore Engineering

Elizabeth attributes her love of engineering to her high school teachers. “Good STEM and math teachers in high school got me into STEM,” commented Elizabeth. After graduating high school, she decided to attend Inver Hills to save money by taking Engineering Fundamentals courses and then transferring.

She enjoys the small class sizes and knowing her professors really well. The campus is also close to home. When enrolling at Inver, Elizabeth also commented that her advisor, Chong Moua, was really nice and made the process easy.

In addition to taking classes, she is involved in extracurricular activities at Inver Hills Community College. Elizabeth is the outreach officer for Engineering Club. She also works two jobs while going to school. In the past, Elizabeth has had several customer service positions and a lot of experience tutoring. She briefly worked at a Mathnasium learning center and did private tutoring on the side. Now Elizabeth tutors writing, math, and science in the Inver Hills Learning Center. On the weekends she works as a manager at a thrift store in Edina.

Elizabeth resides in Eagan with her parents, Steve and Elisa, and three younger siblings, Hunter, 16, Jennifer, 14, and Nick, 12. Her sister, Jennifer, with whom she is very close, will start taking Post-Secondary Education Options (PSEO) classes at Inver Hills next year. Her mother works part-time as a chiropractor’s assistant and her father owns his own comic book/collectibles business, called Cedar Cliff Collectibles.

Elizabeth’s family has five cats: Tigger, Toby, Gizmo, Felix and Oscar. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys listening music (going to shows + collecting vinyl), working out, cooking, writing, going on adventures, and hanging out with friends.

“Explore Engineering is interesting because I’m not a science person, but I came because I wanted to know more. I wanted to participate in this part of Elizabeth’s life and support her.”

— Megan Boelter, 19, Elizabeth’s Friend and Minneapolis College of Art Student

Megan and Elizabeth
Megan and Elizabeth

Explore Engineering Showcase

On Tuesday afternoon, April 30, 2019, Inver Hills engineering students assembled in the Black Box Theatre in the Fine Arts building on campus to participate in the annual Explore Engineering event.

“Explore Engineering gives students in ENGR 1110 Introduction to Engineering and in Engineering Club the opportunity to exhibit their projects to visitors and classmates,” said Joan Carter, engineering faculty. “Each student in ENGR 1110 is required to do a project of their choosing, expanding on something we learned in class.

Explore Engineering gives students the experience of talking about their work in a low-stakes environment. Current and prospective students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend the showcase to examine the projects and talk with our engineering students.

For her Exploring Engineering project, Elizabeth demonstrated a Neopixel LED lamp controlled by an Arduino UNO. Elizabeth’s project displayed the LED lamp cycling through various colors and patterns programmed to react to music through a sound sensor. The LED lights were powered with a 12-volt car battery charger and controlled through an Arduino, an open-source electronics and software platform.


Joan Carter
Joan Carter

“I met Elizabeth in the spring of 2018 when she attended an Engineering information session,” said Joan Carter. “Immediately she stood out to me. She is kind, encouraging, and perpetually smiling. She has now taken two courses with me. Elizabeth is very consistent. Consistent in working hard, in persevering, in including others, in encouraging others, in perpetually smiling, and in being kind. She has excellent time management and study skills.” 

“Elizabeth’s ENGR 1110 project was to build a Neopixel LED lamp controlled by an Arduino UNO. There were many obstacles in getting her project to work,” Joan commented, “With each obstacle, she found a way to overcome, fix, or change the project as needed. In the end her lamp worked. It was quite impressive.”

“Elizabeth is currently a tutor in the writing center and will tutor math next year. She inspires the students around her to work harder and make good choices. Elizabeth will be co-President of Engineering Club next year and was the communication and outreach officer this past year. She is part of a group that is working on creating a renewable energy source to benefit the Inver Hills community. The group has done significant research and will build a prototype hybrid solar/wind power source next year.”

Engineering club meets every Thursday from 2:00-3:00 pm in Science 134. All are welcome. Check the Inver Hills engineering webpage for more information on upcoming information sessions.

Explore Engineering Showcase

Sound Controlled Neopixels with Arduino

By Elizabeth Brown
Project Write-Up

Explore Engineering gallery

View more event photos in an Inver Hills Flickr album:

Explore Engineering Showcase 2019

Elizabeth Brown Q & A

Elizabeth Brown
Elizabeth Brown

Why did you choose engineering as your academic and career path?
I have several reasons for choosing mechanical engineering. First, I have a passion for STEM. I am fascinated by science and math, and engineering lets me apply those subjects to real life projects and situations. I like the rigor of my courses too; studying engineering challenges me and makes me understand the world around me better.

I also like the nature of engineering jobs and classes because I get to collaborate with like-minded individuals. Going into such a male-dominated field makes me feel empowered. Finally, an engineering position will also help me meet my long-term goal of improving our society and environment.

How would you describe your engineering showcase project?
My project can be described as an LED lamp that cycles through all kinds of colors and patterns. I can also program the lights to react to music with a sound sensor. I’m powering the LEDs with a 12-volt car battery charger I found in my garage and then the lights are being controlled through an Arduino.

Three words that describe you as an engineering student:

What do you like best about your engineering field?
Mechanical engineering has a wide range of job opportunities and pays well. I like that engineering includes project work, group collaboration, practical applications of math and science, and digital modeling.

What advice would you give students thinking about going into engineering?

  • Expose yourself to STEM! Go to engineering club, math club, or take orientation to engineering to see if engineering is for you.
  • Talk to the STEM faculty.
  • Learn how to manage your time, but also give yourself breaks when necessary.
  • Form study groups—you are more likely to succeed that way.
  • Go to the Math Center for help (it’s free and a wonderful resource).

What is the most challenging aspect of studying engineering?
Time management! STEM courses can be rigorous and have a large workload. It is often difficult to balance work, my social life, and school all at the same time. This can seem intimidating, but you adapt to it.

Elizabeth Brown  12 Answers

Elizabeth Brown

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Running or biking
  2. Place you would most like to visit: London
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: I went to Italy and Greece last summer!
  4. First thing you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: Put majority of it in a lot of banks.
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Game of Thrones
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Wolf of Wall Street
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: I want to make a positive impact on our world
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Emu
  9. Dream occupation: Own my own engineering company that deals with sustainable energy sources and practices.
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Jane Goodall
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Public speaking
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Humans ruining the environment + climate change
Learn more about Engineering Fundamentals at Inver Hills by contacting:

Joan Carter, PE (MN, IA, CA)
Engineering Faculty

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