Swimming in the Big City

Anna Slominski looked for three things when they were searching for colleges: a small school in a major city, a strong engineering program, and the opportunity to join the swim team.

“Very few schools fit the criteria,” they say. “Illinois Institute of Technology provides a niche college experience that allows me to do all of those things.”

Anna has taken a hands-on approach to learning. They’ve conducted research through the Armour R&D program, completed two internships, and co-founded the Society for Environmental Engineers and Scientists (SEES).  

They say participating in SEES, of which they are currently president, has been one of the biggest influences on their academic career.

“The club has allowed me to work on my leadership, communication, and time management skills more than any other organization on campus,” says Anna.

As part of SEES, they helped start a new Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program working on projects solving real world water problems. Two teams from the IPRO entered their projects in a midwest design competition, and Anna was on the team that won first place, allowing them to take their project on stormwater management and water reuse to the national stage of the competition.

They have found success on the swim team too, currently holding five individual school swim records and two relay team school records. In 2020, they became the first athlete in Illinois Tech history to qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships, and they received Academic All-American status first team in 2020 and 2023 and second team in 2022. To blow off steam, they play Dungeons and Dragons with their teammates.

As a civil and transportation engineering student in Chicago, Anna says they have been able to experience firsthand the benefits of accessible urban transportation planning.

“I love public transit and the freedom it gives while not having a car,” they say. “The CTA and Metra have allowed me to see Frank Llyod Wright houses, the Morton Arboretum, Lincoln Park Zoo, and plenty of amazing food.”

Anna says they are interested in looking at transportation in a holistic way, as most problems in the field have many possible solutions. 

“I want to work for a local, state, or federal government transportation agency to help make more accessible and reliable urban environments,” they say. “I want to work in the public sphere because it allows me to work more with communities to make sure we implement the best transportation options.”

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