"The best decision I ever made:" Patel earns degree in biological engineering

May 06, 2024

Woman stands outside

Zara Patel didn’t think she would find herself at Mizzou, but after four years on campus she says attending school here was the best decision she’d ever made.

Patel will graduate with a degree in biological engineering, which she chose because of her passion for creating technology that has a positive environmental impact. Outside of the classroom, she’s been involved in multiple student organizations with focuses on both academics and college traditions.

After graduation, she will begin her career as a water/wastewater designer at Stantec in Indianapolis.

Read on for a Q&A about her time at Mizzou.

Why did you choose Mizzou?

I was born and raised here in Columbia, Missouri. Both my parents went to Mizzou to get their undergraduate degrees and then stayed once they graduated. I never really thought that I was going to go to Mizzou. I always assumed that I would leave the state for college, but once the pandemic began, it was more difficult to go to a school that was out of state and I decided to go to Mizzou. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

What made you interested in your major?

I originally started at Mizzou as a biological sciences major and then switched to biological engineering with an emphasis in bioenvironmental engineering. I always knew I wanted to major in a STEM field and that I wanted to make a difference. I switched majors because I wanted to have a greater connection with creating technology that has a positive impact on the environment, specifically focusing on biological integrations. 

How did you get involved at Mizzou?

I am involved in Alpha Omega Epsilon, an engineering and STEM sorority. I am also involved in the Society of Sales Engineers and Engineers’ Club. Getting to know all the Engineers’ Week royalty candidates personally, as I was on the royalty committee for the Engineers’ Club, allowed for me to fully get immersed in the skits. That was my favorite Mizzou Engineering memory.

What’s next for you after graduation?

I have accepted a position at Stantec as a water/wastewater designer in Indianapolis.

What would you tell someone who’s interested in coming to Mizzou?

Mizzou is about community and the environment. Whether you come to the school knowing someone or as a total stranger, you will always make friends. Every university has an environment, but Mizzou’s environment is different—you can find any group that you want. The first time you fully emerge yourself in the environment, whether it be in classes, student org meetings or at a game, you will know that you made the right choice.