While most 17 year olds are looking to start college in the fall, Alexis Kam is thinking about going to grad school.
17 year old Kam is graduating this month from California State University, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
“Through innovative design and sustainable engineering,” Kam says, “I can help make the world a better place or help improve people’s lives.”
Her ambition is to design energy-efficient buildings to make cities and communities more sustainable. With climate change and global warming, Kam says she has a responsibility to use her design skills to help raise awareness about energy conservation and other environmental issues.
The Studio City resident is one of the youngest graduates in Cal State LA’s Class of 2020. She was 12 years old when she enrolled at the university through the Early Entrance Program. The program, which has accepted highly gifted students as young as 11 years old, is administered by the Honors College.
At Cal State LA, she worked part time as a machine shop/mechanical design assistant and as an instructional student assistant for two statics courses.
Kam also participated in the university’s Autonomous Underwater Vehicle project. The vehicle is a small robotic submarine designed to navigate underwater obstacle courses.
Kam helped start the Association for Women in Science at Cal State LA, which she says is one of her major accomplishments. As a member of the organization’s executive board, she encouraged students who were women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). They organized presentations and workshops and participated in networking and career and research opportunities.
For her senior project, she led a team of four Cal State LA students in designing a small-scale office building for energy efficiency research. The project aimed to reduce energy usage by testing different wall materials and configurations, as well as to maximize the efficiency of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.
“Our goal is to get more young women interested in STEM and to see themselves as future engineers or scientists,” says Kam, who is considering applying to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in engineering with a focus on sustainable design.
A Dean’s List student, Kam is a recipient of a Boeing Student Scholarship, an Elliott R. Barton Scholarship, a Theodore W. Nye and Ann M. Nye Scholarship, and a STEM Advantage Scholarship.
Another notable graduate of the CSU Los Angeles Early Entrance Program – Dr. Leana Wen who later went on to become a ER physician, Health Commissioner of Baltimore and President of Planned Parenthood.