Student Spotlight

an image of Yang Shanshan



Shanshan Yang, class of '24

Communication and Rhetoric, Ph.D.

Hometown: Shenyang, China


  • Why did you choose this program?

    RPI's communication program is really interdisciplinary. The faculty are nice and helpful so that you can approach the resources you need.
  • What are your research interests?

    Media archaeology, Digital materiality, Affect theory
  • What inspires you?

    Michael Foucault is one of the most influential philosophers to me and I'm a fan of him. I love to talk about topics of philosophy!



an image of Rachel Klementowski



Rachel Klementowski, class of '21

Psychological Science / Mathematics

Hometown: Buffalo, NY USA


  • Why did you choose this program?

    I have switched my major(s) six times across three different colleges! I finally settled on Psychological Science because, while I enjoyed everything else, I connected most with careers in psychology. (I am currently applying to graduate schools in Clinical Psychology, after which I hope to go into private practice or work at a college counseling center.) I couldn't give up math however, so I decided to do a dual major.
  • What major awards or recognitions have you received?

    Panelist, Mental Health Town Hall, September 2020; Honorable Mention, The Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (COMAP MCM/ICM), Spring 2019; Letter of Commendation, Computer Science Department, Fall 2018
  • In what on-campus activities are you involved?

    President, Active Minds at RPI (the mental health awareness club); Peer Support Group Facilitator, RPI Counseling Center & NAMI Capital Region; Undergraduate Mentor, Computer Science Department, Computer Science I; Flute Ensemble (paused due to COVID-19); Previous I-Persist mentor, Calculus I, Fall 2019
  • What is your favorite Troy hangout?

    Bard & Baker, the board game cafe (pro tip - it's the perfect place to go on a first date!) Also, Canvas, Corks & Forks, the paint & sip downtown with a mac & cheese bar!



a photo of Scott Rusk



Scott Rusk, class of '21

GSAS (Writing Concentration)

Hometown: Greenwich, CT USA


  • What is your favorite class at RPI, and why?

    Game Development II has been my favorite class thus far. I enjoyed being able to work with my team on a project solely of our choosing and developing it to where it felt like an actual game. You can find this game on my on my LinkedIn and play it for yourself; it's really awesome!
  • In what off-campus experiences have you participated?

    During my Arch away semester, I spent some time learning CryEngine.
  • What is your favorite hangout on campus?

    The Union and dining halls have always been great places to hang out with friends!
  • What are your hobbies?

    I love playing video games both casually and competitively. I also like designing games and writing stories!



a photo of Aaron Lockwood in a mask



Aaron Lockwood, class of '24

Music / Computer Science

Hometown: Mahwah, NJ USA


  • What brought you to RPI?

    My sister is an alumni and coming to see her perform in the orchestra or just visiting for dinner made me fall in love with the beautiful campus and interesting programs.
  • What is your favorite course at RPI and why?

    1200 Data Structures - this is my favorite class not because I enjoy the class but because it is such a challenge and every project is another puzzle to solve and I love it.
  • What is your favorite hangout on campus?

    The approach
  • Where is the most interesting place you've traveled?




a photo of Kristen Bertrand



Kristen Bertrand, class of '22

Cognitive Science / Computer Science

Hometown: Kinderhook, NY USA


  • What brought you to RPI?

    I like the unique culture the school has. Compared to other places I toured, there is a distinct “vibe” the student body has. I also wanted the challenging curriculum.
  • In what on-campus activities are you involved?

    Symphonic Band, Percussion Ensemble, Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and Association for Computing Machinery - Women in Computing (ACM-W)
  • In what off-campus activities have you participated?

    CISL AI Chatbot Project




The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Russell Sage Laboratory (SAGE) 5304, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-6575

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