There are a lot of impressive things about soon-to-be Stevens graduate Kendra Appleheimer (B.E. in Mechanical Engineering, M.E. in Systems Engineering, 2012). Perhaps the most impressive is her commitment to her community. In five years at Stevens, Appleheimer has led countless of volunteer projects to benefit children, the disabled, Stevens, and much more.
Appleheimer has always been a high-achiever. The Brick, N.J. native was the salutatorian of her high school and a varsity tennis player, as well as a dedicated community volunteer. She even founded her own community service organization to promote disability awareness, inspired by her own sister’s Down Syndrome diagnosis.
At Stevens, Appleheimer built on that work through her Senior Design project, which was to develop and build a prototype of a toy which incorporates engaging educational gameplay and accessibility for children with multiple and severe disabilities who are limited in their motor skills.
“It was a great fit because of my volunteer work with individuals with disabilities and the impact that having a sister with Down Syndrome has had on my life,” Appleheimer said.
Through her involvement in the Stevens chapters of Alpha Phi Omega, the national service fraternity, and Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, Appleheimer also volunteered at Hoboken schools, the local Boys and Girls Club, and other community organizations.
But much of Appleheimer’s leadership has gone to bettering Stevens as a University. Captain of the Stevens women’s tennis team, she helped mentor younger players and served as a role model for her teammates while earning second-team All-Conference singles and doubles accolades and guiding Stevens to a No. 23 ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Northeast Region poll – the program’s highest-ever finish. She was also elected as vice president of the SGA, overseeing subcommittees charged with improving various aspects of student life, chairing Senate meetings, and helping to plan the second annual Founder’s Day Ball. And she was president of the Gear & Triangle Leadership Honor Society, working with enthusiastic campus leaders in promoting school spirit, the principles of the Honor System, and fellowship.
For Appleheimer, the biggest honor was being asked to join the Strategic Planning Committee as the lone student participant.
“I consider this experience the culminating endeavor in my campus involvement, as I was able to draw from my academic and extracurricular experiences in best representing the undergraduate student body in planning for Stevens’ future,” she said. “I believe that in 10 years, I will still be very proud of my alma mater.”
For all she’s done for Stevens and the local community, Appleheimer earned a number of distinctions and honors throughout her career. This spring, she accepted the Women of Distinction Award, for undergraduate women who positively impact the experience of women at Stevens. She was also the 2011 Woman of the Year by the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, recognizing a female student-athlete who distinguished herself in the areas of academic achievement, athletic excellence, service and leadership. Other awards include the 2011 President’s Award for Community Involvement and Distinguished Student Leader Award 2011.
Despite her selflessness, Appleheimer was able to do the seemingly-impossible – achieve great things for her community as well as herself. She landed a great first job as a consulting analyst in Accenture’s Washington, D.C. office, responsible for helping clients find technology solutions for their companies.
“I am very excited for this opportunity because my goal upon graduation was to pursue consulting and Accenture was a top choice because of their impactful projects and acclaimed company atmosphere,” Appleheimer said.
Appleheimer earned the position with her 3.9 undergraduate GPA as well as her participation in three top-notch internships through the Stevens Co-op Program. Most recently, Appleheimer was a manufacturing engineering intern at Air Cruisers Company, where she was part of a Lean Six Sigma project team that helped reorganize the facility’s warehouse to maximize efficiency. Earlier in her collegiate career, she interned at New York City Transit’s MTA, working on emergency ventilation systems for subway stations, and ITT Electronic Systems, doing quality testing on circuit boards for military radar systems.
“Co-op allowed me to gain invaluable work experience in a variety of fields, and also have an extra year to pursue my master’s degree,” Appleheimer said.
With her Stevens education lighting the way, Appleheimer is confident she’ll succeed in her new career, just as she has always done.
“I have had some exceptional professors who were excellent lecturers and knowledgeable in their fields, and I have had many thought-provoking classes that challenged my abilities to approach a problem and find a solution,” she said.
Read more profiles of 2012 graduating students here.