First Female Engineer
Mahima Kania, who is from Gujarat, India, isn’t just a first-generation college graduate. She became the first female engineer among her extended family and the first to earn a bachelor’s degree from a foreign university when she graduated from Penn State with a major in mechanical engineering in 2021.
Kania is now an operations engineer and project lead at Comcast in Atlanta, a post she earned after just six months with the company.
As an international student at Penn State, Kania said she had to learn a lot on her own to be successful.
“It was a challenge,” she said. She spent a lot of time on the application and visa processes and navigating Penn State as a first-gen student.
Kania took what she learned and was determined to help others in their journey. She became involved in the International Student Council at Penn State and would later serve as the organization’s director of public relations and marketing, then vice president. Kania explained that international students face additional barriers to opportunities such as U.S. internships because of the visa process.
“It was very important for me to help these students get more comfortable and have a welcoming experience,” she said of her work on the Council.
Kania participated in several internships during her time at Penn State. Perhaps the most important was as an operations engineer intern in Atlanta, which led to her current full-time job as a project lead for a sustainability initiative.
Her advice to other first-generation students is, “Keep pushing, keep driving yourself and others around you. It will seem like a battle at the start, but it will happen.”