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First-Year Student Stories

Goodnight Spotlight: Rishi Rau

Majoring in Mechanical Engineering, Rishi Rau (Class of 2027) shares his interests growing up and how that has shaped his choice for his major. Alongside the academic journey, read about how he has overcome obstacles during his first year at NCSU as well as how he was able to stay connected with his culture!

Tell us about yourself!

My family is from India, but I have grown up in and around Cary, North Carolina my entire life. I enjoy anything that gets me outside: hiking, mountain biking, soccer, or even taking pictures with my drone. I also love learning new things or bettering myself as a person, whether that’s through something like yoga, experimenting with new recipes, learning about personal finance, or even folding origami.

What is your major and why did you decide to pursue it?

My decision to major in Mechanical Engineering came somewhat recently, but I know some part of me always wanted to be an engineer. Growing up, I was constantly interested in building things and exploring how things work, especially regarding technology and vehicles. Following my participation in local robotics programs and a few construction-based opportunities, I was more solidified in my choice to pursue mechanical engineering because of the sheer diversity of the field. Whether working with machines or designing buildings, I want to use my degree to bring new technologies and sustainable practices to the forefront of my field and make a difference in the world.

What has been your biggest hurdle in your first semester?

My biggest hurdle during my first semester has been finding balance and making time for everything within my athletic, social, and academic life. Along with the newfound independence that college brings, I’ve also had to adapt to having a constantly updating and changing schedule. This next semester, I hope to find a bit more structure by setting aside time for things I enjoy, like getting meals or working out with friends.

Have you been able to connect your ethnic and racial background to your time at NCSU?

Before coming to NC State, the biggest connection I had to my Indian roots was my mom and sister’s Indian classical dance school. College has introduced me to a lot more people from my community who I could relate to on several things: shared experiences, holidays, food, and music to name a few. Additionally, I applied for and was selected to be a freshman representative for Ektaa, the South Asian Student Association at NCSU. This past semester, I’ve not only learned more about leadership and event organization, but I’ve also been able to connect more with my culture and other South Asians through holiday celebrations, community events, and collaborations with other cultural organizations.

Moving forward, what are some long-term and short-term goals you have prepared for yourself at the moment?

During college, a few goals of mine are to connect further with faculty, participate in more professional organizations, study abroad, and obtain my commercial drone license. In the long term, I hope to eventually get an MBA, become a mentor within my community, travel as much as possible, and simply enjoy life. But for the time being, I’d just like to improve my sleep schedule a bit more!

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