“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” Farrah Gray
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Hannah Elizabeth Deen and I am junior in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Going to RPI was not a hard choice, but I knew it was going to shape the rest of my life. Something I noticed at school right away was the lack of women on campus, especially in my major. Having a major that is only approx. 10% female can be a huge strain I’d never considered. I never had too many gal pals in high school, but the atmosphere during college is a huge difference. This is when I chose to make an important decision.
I went greek! I went through formal recruitment and found my forever home of Alpha Omega Epsilon Sorority. The 50+ women I interact with on a regular basis really help me through my rigorous class schedule. One of the singular best parts of the house (besides the people) is that we are major restrictive which means we only accept technical science and engineering majors. This might sound odd for a sorority, but I have found that it is absolutely amazing. Most sisters are taking the same classes as me, and there are so many people uber willing to tutor you at all times! The sisters have also pushed me to really reach past my limits when it comes to leadership activities. Currently, I am Membership Educator for our chapter, but I have also served as Historian, Alumnae Relations chair, and Panhellenic Representative.
From serving my semester on Panhel, my sisters then encouraged me to run for a director position on the RPI Panhellenic Council. I am currently the Director of Greek Relations. By the time I leave my position I will have organized almost a dozen events for the Panhellenic community, and half a dozen for the entire greek community. I work with all the many greek chapters on campus and continue to develop and maintain positive relations among all greek members.
I have also become an active member of RPI’s Red & White Student Organization. This student group works to make a connection from current RPI students, to alumni, companies, and the traditions the school has lost to history. Spending time with alumni has to be my favorite part of the organization because they have INCREDIBLE stories from the school’s past. It makes RPI seem a little less daunting when they tell you of crazy adventures into not-so-secret tunnels, and long Saturday nights that turned into Sunday morning parties.
Keeping the social note, I love going out to eat with friends whenever possible because my Italian family has taught me the wonders of a good meal and great company. I also love showing my friends my cooking and baking skills since my mom is an amazing chef and I steal her delicious recipes! For any event I run/am apart of, I tend to always end up in the kitchen one way or another because of this!
If you are wondering more about me, I will give you a super fun fact! I really, really, really love sea turtles. I think they are amazingly cute and graceful! And, second fun fact, they really do help our ocean environment!
What # would define your life journey?
It is not a ‘trending’ tag, but it still applies. Life has handed me quite a few lemons, and I have become a lemonade making master. I also think it shows my quirkiness and love for a dear sea creature; both of which I am super proud of.
Favorite website / app:
This is a huge battle ground in my life, because I love Pinterest and Imgur so much. The sorority woman in me leans toward Pintrest, but I am also a self proclaimed meme queen. I plan on making letters that are meme print, so that will be the best of both worlds.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My Granny inspires me every time we talk. I do not believe I would be the strong woman I am today without her influence in my life. She tells me the stories of gender inequality she had to face and it really gives me the perspective and perseverance to work to solve the issue I personally run into today. The best knowledge she has given me is in a quote from our favorite president, FDR, ““Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”. This I believe answers the questions: Why not try that new challenging thing? Who is stopping you from getting to your goal? What do you have to lose?
Song that makes you want to dance:
Anything from Twenty One Pilots; I saw them in concert this past summer and I can say that it was the best concert I have ever been to.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
My father committed suicide when I was twelve years old and I have found that this is still one of the largest impactors to my life. The loss of my father was a huge emotional hit that has never really gone away, but it also had a large social effect on my life. I found that there were two groups of people: those who ostracized me because of the loss and those who support me during my bad days. The people I call friends belong to the second group and the first group taught me that you cannot be friends with everyone no matter how hard you try. Another life lesson came in the fact that being so young meant I learned the reality of life very fast and I have become a realist because of it. I have learned to be completely truthful with myself, whether it is knowing when I need ‘me’ time or how much I REALLY do need to study. I have grown to understand that everyone has shortcomings, and I have learned how to accept that and either move on or help them work past it. Tragedy strikes unexpected and harshly, but that does not mean you stop working towards your goals or that happy days have left forever!
In ten years, I hope to be in more of a managerial position for a technical company. My dream is to someday have that beloved corner office, and I just hope I am on track toward that. I also wish to get married and do the whole dream house 2.5 kids thing, but for now my career is my main focus!
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Adversity makes us all strong, but that does not mean you need to go through it alone.