“The answer to practically any question is: Why not?”

That mentality has led junior Rahel to join the cheerleading squad and the Mining & Mucking Team, alternating weekends between gymnastic feats at football games and practices spent sawing through 4”x 4“ timber in the fastest time possible.

When she’s not slaying it on the field or in the competitive arena—the mining team placed second worldwide last year – Rahel’s putting her skills to the test on the mine rescue team, undergoing live simulations with professionals a mile underground at Sanford Lab.

She’s got grit – and great mentors.

Freshman year, Rahel was paired with an upperclassman WiSE mentor and fellow mining engineer, Christina, who was also her sorority ‘big sister.’ Rahel looked to her for everything from academic advice and the inside scoop on internships to networking tips at an SME conference they attended together.

“She was really helpful, but so was the small student-to-faculty ratio and the close-knit community. Though it’s still big enough here you can meet new people every day.”

That’s where her real passion lies, embracing the unfamiliar and seizing opportunities as they come. The Santa Clara, California, native moved across the country for an education she says guaranteed a job post-graduation with the chance to travel the globe.

Five years after that diploma’s in hand, Rahel hopes to be working in gem mining around the world – or even above it. “I’d love to be on a track for space mining. I feel like everyone wants to be an astronaut as a kid, and I can get there through my degree.”