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Donnita Robinson Finds Right Fit on Campus, Ready for Next Step in Life’s Journey

September 19, 2014


Ready To Use Skills: Donnita Robinson, a senior chemical engineering student set to graduate in November and begin a career with Accenture, looks back fondly on her four-year career on campus. (Photo by Shawn Spence)

It is a rare occasion these days when you don’t see a broad smile across Donnita Robinson’s face on the Rose-Hulman campus.

After all, she is in the home stretch of completing her chemical engineering degree, and just accepted a job post-graduation with Accenture, a multinational management consulting, technology, and outsourcing company.

“While I’m ready for the next step, it seemed to have come so quickly,” says Robinson, a native of Carmel, Indiana, who seems to have taken advantage of every opportunity afforded during her Rose-Hulman academic career. “College has gone by like a blur.”

In four years, Robinson has been president of Rose-Hulman’s student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), helped organize the campus’ first TEDx event, and been a member of the Alpha Chi Sigma chemistry honor society.

Three summers have been spent as an intern/co-op employee for Eli Lilly and Company and the Kimberly-Clark Corporation—valuable work experiences that have enhanced her educational career.

“The opportunities provided by Rose-Hulman are so great,” she says. “I have received a lot from Rose-Hulman, and Rose-Hulman has got a lot out of me.”

In one of her last days on campus, Robinson could be found wearing a t-shirt with the word “inspire” in large block letters across the front.

A daughter of an engineer, Robinson was well aware of the rewarding opportunities present in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Her mother earned a master’s degree in sociology. And, both parents are proud University of Michigan alumni, and desired their daughter to possibly follow their pathway to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

However, an overnight campus visit as part of NSBE’s Senior High School Weekend helped convince Donnita that Rose-Hulman was the right choice for her own career ambitions. Then, she had to convince her parents.

“All I talked about was Rose-Hulman during the car ride home,” she says. “There was such a supportive environment on campus, and sense of belonging. I told my parents, ‘Rose-Hulman is where I’m supposed to be.’”

That feeling has been reaffirmed throughout the past four years, despite lots of challenging courses, especially a thermodynamics class, and lots of homework.

“I will remember the fun times, of course, and no one can forget the homework. But, I will always remember the people at Rose-Hulman who helped me be successful,” she says. “I have definitely learned more about myself and the world around me. I have learned how to apply in my internships those new principles learned in the classroom. I have developed a work ethic and time management skills that allow me to get so much done in the precious time allotted.”

She hopes to add a master’s degree in business administration to her engineering skills to further enhance her career.

“Being on the verge of leaving Rose-Hulmman is so bitter sweet,” she says while reflecting on the past four years. “Part of me is so ready to go and put to use what I’ve learned on campus. I will miss most the relationships, and the ease at which I have been able to meet people and make lifelong friendships.”