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Florida State University

Sarah Sweat

Student leads by example to enable, empower and inspire

"I feel like I am making a difference in the next FSU generation."
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Major: Mechanical Engineering
Graduation: Spring 2016


Florida State University student Sarah Sweat — a mechanical engineering major, Freshman Interest Group leader, former study abroad student, current International Programs student recruiter and core board member of Dance Marathon — aims to enable, empower and inspire others to be the best that they can be and confidently lead a life that they are proud of.

The Freshman Interest Groups (FIG) Program also has been a large part of Sweat's academic career. She participated in a FIG during her freshman year and has served as a leader of the Pre-Engineering FIG for two fall semesters, providing guidance to current freshman and educating them on the resources at FSU.

"I feel like I am making a difference in the next FSU generation, inspiring them to get involved, taking advantage of the many opportunities and experiences available to them at FSU," Sweat said.

In addition, Sweat has distinguished herself academically by being named to both the President's and Dean's list while studying mechanical engineering and has been inducted into the Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi.

Sweat also studied abroad in London for her freshman spring semester in 2012. This was her first time outside of the United States. Having the opportunity to step outside of her comfort zone, she traveled to five European countries throughout the semester.

"It was the best time of my life," Sweat said. "I learned so much about myself and the world we all live in. I was able to see all of the major sights in London and we used the city as our classroom. I took a theater class that allowed us to see a different play throughout the city each week. I also took an art history class that went to a new art museum every week and held lectures right next to the paintings in the exhibit halls. I also had the opportunity to travel to Paris, Rome and Dublin and got the chance to go cliff jumping and kayaking off the coast of Wales."

Sweat currently works for the Florida State University International Programs office as a student recruiter.

"I love talking to potential students about my experience and encouraging other students to embark on a similar experience," Sweat said.

As one of the student leaders of this year's Dance Marathon, Sweat had a part in the extensive amount of work that goes into pulling off FSU's largest student-run philanthropy, which benefits the College of Medicine's Pediatric Outreach Program and the Children's Miracle Network. Sweat and the group organizing the event had the chance to visit the local Children's Miracle Network hospital — Shands Children's Hospital ­in Gainesville, Fla.— to witness where previous and upcoming year's funds go. They were able to see the hospital's new equipment, children's toys, medical research and much more.

This year's Dance Marathon took place during the Feb. 27-Mar. 1 weekend. Dancers participating in the event remained standing up and/or dancing for 20 consecutive hours. The Marching Chiefs also often stopped by, as well as various FSU athletic teams and the Flying High Circus to maintain excitement throughout the event.

Sweat served as the finance assistant on the Dance Marathon board and worked with the finance team to ensure all donations were entered into the system properly and that the team was accurately keeping count of the total funds raised. Dance Marathon's goal this year was set at $1 million. Participants surpassed the goal by raising more than  $1.1 million.

"Everything I do with Dance Marathon is for the kids," Sweat said. "I am so lucky to be involved with this great organization. It is truly an indescribable experience to be a part of such a life-changing event with such kind and generous people."

Within the Florida A&M University-FSU College of Engineering, Sweat has most enjoyed a class called Mechanics and Materials II taught by mechanical engineering Professor Peter N. Kalu.

In this class and through the completion of lab reports, she was able to articulate the behavior of various materials when put under particular stresses, such as torsion, tension and heat treatment, as well as analyze this behavior numerically. The lab reports helped her achieve a better understanding of the lessons.

"Professor Kalu's insight into the industry was always interesting and beneficial to his students," Sweat said.

Sweat previously held an internship at Cummins Inc., a Fortune 500 company that designs, manufactures, sells and maintains diesel engines of all sizes. She spent the summer of 2014 with the company in Columbus, Ind., working with the service support group that analyzed failed engine parts. The company is most well known for manufacturing truck engines for Dodge. Sweat's experience with Cummins dealt with applying some of the concepts she had learned in Kalu's courses to real-word situations.

Sweat added, "The FSU Career Center played a integral part in obtaining my internship with Cummins. I was able to meet recruiters from the company at its engineering career fair."

Sweat's plan for the future is to continue her education in mechanical engineering through obtaining a Master of Mechanical Engineering degree at FSU. She will also work with Ford Motor Company this summer as a product development intern in Detroit, Mich.