Student priorities

I’m Living Up to Expectations

Cara Porto ’18


Joseph R. Takats ’41 Scholarship Recipient

North Tonawanada, NY

As a scholarship recipient, I realize that someone I don’t even know invested in my experience at Rensselaer, and so I have an obligation to take advantage of every opportunity that investment provides. I jumped on a job offer to work in the Fabrication Lab at the School of Architecture. We have our own laser cutters and CNC machines and a robotic arm—a lot of really high-tech machines that I had never come in contact with before, and I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about each of them. At the moment I’m trying to get my hands on my own 3-D printer so I can start printing different pieces of artwork.

And simply having Rensselaer on my resume opened the doors to three really great internships back in Buffalo. I’ve worked two summers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, helping to redesign a lobby that hadn’t been touched since the building was built over forty years ago. It was a great education in how spaces are more than just their primary use. A lobby is basically an entryway, but Roswell uses it for graduations and conferences. Patients use it as a place to visit with families. So we needed to design for all of those uses. I just spent this past summer at Young + Wright Architectural trying to figure out a way to build a new building inside the shell of an older building—200 years older. There are all kinds of administrative, logistical and structural issues to deal with on a project like that, and I got to learn about them firsthand. That’s invaluable experience that I wouldn’t have had without my Rensselaer education and the scholarship that made it possible.

Clubs & Organizations

  • Alpha Omega Epsilon Vice President
  • RPI Women’s Mentor
  • Order of Omega Greek Honor Society

Research & Internships

  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute (two summers)
  • Young + Wright Architectural (one summer)

I’m Walking in Someone’s Footsteps

Earning the Takats Scholarship made me realize that as a Rensselaer student—and one day, as a Rensselaer alumna—I’m part of something bigger than myself. I researched the donor my scholarship is named for. He was from Buffalo, like me, and worked really hard to make the most of his Rensselaer education. The scholarship was his way of giving back to Buffalo and to Rensselaer. I plan to walk in his footsteps and use my education to help the Buffalo community that raised me.