2020 Grad Spotlight: Elizabeth Brooks


For commencement week, we’re featuring some of the students from the SEAS Class of 2020. Today, we feature Elizabeth Brooks, who majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?
First of all, congratulations on joining the Yale Class of 2024!  Yale is an incredibly exciting place and I hope that you enjoy your time here, despite the current COVID-19 crisis.

When I first came to Yale, I was surprised by how large a role extracurriculars play in student life; just about every student I know has been involved with one or more clubs, often several. While clubs are often very fun socially and help you make friends with other students who share similar interests, they are also great opportunities to develop skills and gain professional opportunities. For example, in SEAS engineering clubs (which often meet in the CEID), you can learn new technical skills and work in teams to build engineering projects. Other clubs involve trips to national conferences, which provide professional development and career opportunities.

While I definitely suggest that you explore clubs that interest you, we only have four years as Yale students and as I’m sure you’ve been told many times already, that time goes very fast. So, it’s important to prioritize your involvement with clubs, research, courses, and on-campus jobs. As a first-year, I would encourage you to explore a wide range of clubs, including some that are outside of your comfort zone. Look for clubs that have fun communities and leadership who are open to suggestions and input from members. Sophomore year is a great time to begin leadership positions in the clubs that you are most passionate about, and don’t be afraid to drop ones that are not as important to you.

Another piece of advice that I wish I got before arriving at Yale is to begin searching for summer opportunities very early, often in the fall. While most first years don’t participate in internships during their first summer (for example, I stayed home and taught at a summer camp) opportunities often fill up much sooner than you expect. Whether you are considering studying abroad, conducting research, interning with a company, or anything else, it’s important to start considering your options in the fall. Some starting points I would suggest are going to the Yale Office of Career Strategy to create or update your resume, talking with professors and upperclassmen, and attending the SEAS career fair.

What are your post-graduation plans?
As an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major, I knew that I wanted to fully explore both areas to help me decide on a career path. In order to do that, I have had two very different summer internships: a software engineering internship with Microsoft in San Francisco and an engineering internship with Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. While both internships involved many of the same skills such as working with others, problem-solving, and building technical abilities, the two companies were very different in terms of field and work culture. Having these very different experiences allowed me to better understand the wide range of engineering jobs that exist and where I would most enjoy working.

This summer, I will begin a full-time role with the Con Edison (NYC’s electric utility) GOLD Program, a rotational leadership development engineering program in NYC. While both of my previous internships were very interesting experiences, I decided to go in a different direction by joining Con Edison in order to learn about the energy industry and support the transition to clean energy.

If you were to pick one thing that you most enjoyed about your time at Yale, what would it be?
Although I have enjoyed many parts of my Yale experience, my favorite has definitely been my involvement with the club Design for America. I joined the extracurricular the fall of my first year and have been involved since, serving as president during my junior year. Through DFA, I have gotten the chance to learn about Design Thinking, a field I had never heard of before arriving at Yale, attend professional conferences, and work with other students to design solutions to help local nonprofits. But more importantly, I’ve loved getting to know and work with the other students in DFA and the club has become the community I’ve felt most at home in. Watching the organization grow over the past four years and knowing that I’ve made a lasting impact on the Yale community has been incredibly meaningful and I am so glad I’ve been a part of it.