Hello! My name is Caileigh Wettasinghe, and I’m a sophomore from Bernardsville, NJ. I’m majoring in electrical engineering and pursuing a minor in neuroscience. My favorite thing about being a Pitt student is the pride that everyone has in our school! Back in high school, we had silent pep rallies and no one but the class president participated in spirit week, so it’s refreshing to be around people who take pride in their school and are happy in their environment. When I step outside it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll see someone wearing a Pitt logo, and every time I meet a Pitt alum they rave about how great our school is.
The sense of community at Pitt and especially within Pitt Honors is one of the main reasons I came to Pitt. I wanted challenging academics and access to outside opportunities, but not many schools could balance academic rigor with a supportive environment like Pitt does. My professors are not teaching just because it’s their job, they genuinely want us to succeed. They work beyond the hours they get paid for to hold extra review sessions and answer questions outside the scope of their class. My classmates also go out of their way to help each other–sharing textbooks, lending out our personal lab equipment, debugging each other’s programs, and sending tips for difficult parts of projects.
I’ve met some of the most creative and intelligent people through the Pitt Honors LLC where I lived freshman year. Everyone I met in the LLC was eager to learn and had diverse interests. While hanging out in the floor lounge (pre-COVID), my friends taught me about politics and art history and anatomy, and they would let me geek out about neuroscience and physics. We programmed a robot to sing and dance, learned about Cathy’s architectural inconsistencies, and held trivia competitions. The people I met in the LLC are some of my best friends, and although we are all living in different places now and have rigorous schedules we still have zoom calls and socially-distanced meetups as much as we can.
I was also involved in Pitt Honors through University Honors College courses such as Art of Making, a hands-on design class for engineering students. This class was invaluable for learning strategies to work in groups, do user-outreach, and test and design products. When we started remote classes last spring, the students even got to help redesign the class with some of the skills we learned! The experience I have from Art of Making has helped me stand out at co-op fairs, and I got an internship from doing outreach for one of our class projects. It was a completely unique course that focused on giving us tools to use in real life engineering situations that most students don’t get to experience until they have graduated and started working.
I’ve found a place to thrive in because of Pitt Honors, and I am excited for all the future opportunities I will find within the community.