Emily Lerner

2017 Open to New Ideas


What makes you a Difference Maker?

It is important for everyone to strive to be the best they can be. As humans, we are afraid to say we are wrong. It's only when we can stop and say, “Hey, I do not know,” or, “I could be wrong,” that we will progress our knowledge. I'd like to credit this Socrates-like philosophy with my difference-making. I'm not afraid to admit that other people are right—and that I could be wrong—so I'm always open to ideas and hearing/valuing other people's opinions. When you truly hear and want to understand people, that is when you make a difference in the lives of others. It is easy to be engulfed in our own worlds and hard to step back and ask ourselves how other people are doing. I am always challenging myself with the possibility that I could be wrong; and I’m always striving to be better. That is what makes me a Difference Maker.

Campus Achievements:

I am the president of the Society of Women Engineers; I studied with Professor Marilee Benore to do research for U-M Ann Arbor’s Academic Women's Caucus; I am the president of Creative Computing Club, a coding club that is currently focused on ue4; and I am a participant in the UM-Dearborn Honors Program. I have spoken on numerous occasions on behalf of the university at college event nights, and I have had the honor of getting to spend time with lots of other engineering organizations that I am not necessarily a member of.

Leadership Experiences:

My favorite part about leadership is being able to help people. Seeing girls' faces light up when they understand a concept is priceless. The best part about being a leader has nothing to do with yourself; it's about helping other people reach their full potential. That is the most gratifying thing you can imagine. I've enjoyed working at numerous outreach events to work with high school students or going to events like Maker Faire. Teaching kids that they are able to do anything if they work hard and put their minds to things makes everything worth it.

What is your Dream Career?

I'm a bit like John Lennon—my life goal is to be happy. My dream career involves working alongside really nice people and always being challenged to better myself. Not being content and always striving to be better are things that are important to me. Also, I'd like to work somewhere creative. Aside from engineering, I love the arts. Photography, painting and drawing, and playing music/writing music are some of my hobbies. I think creativity and engineering go hand-in-hand, and I'd love to work somewhere that marries the two concepts.

What was a Defining Moment at UM-Dearborn?

It's hard to pick a defining moment. I'd say either taking C/C++ with Professor Paul Watta or learning about robots from Professor Nattu. Both of these experiences opened my eyes to what is achievable with engineering. Coding made me realize I could bring the ideas from my brain into the physical world. Working with robots made me feel like engineering makes the impossible possible. Both experiences challenged me and made me feel like I picked the right field.