The highlight of Yeabsra Habtegebriel’s, 25, time at Berkeley was her mechanical engineering major capstone project, the final effort to show she’d learned practical skills from her major:
“We built an automatic blunt roller,” Habtegebriel said with a laugh after Sunday’s commencement ceremony.
“It was more of a ‘work smart, not hard’ strategy that made me proud,” said Habtegebriel, whose family moved from Ethiopia to San Diego in 2010. “We figured out how to do it with only three motors. So many engineers want to make things complicated, my team was all about avoiding that.”
Her first few years at Berkeley were hard: more studying than making friends. But by junior year, Habtegebriel had figured out a balance: “I did less studying and more socializing, and my grades got better,” she said. “I got more confident.”
After graduation, Habtegebriel plans to travel for a bit and decide if she wants to get a graduate engineering degree.