There's no single Tartan story.

Carnegie Mellon University students are bold, curious and driven by passion, and each has a unique journey. Coming to campus from across the country and around the world, our students explore across disciplines and engage broadly on campus. Check out the stories below to hear from and about our terrific Tartans.

Hear even more from our students in our Across the Cut series!

MBA Student Aims for Inclusion

Katterin White Salazar came to Carnegie Mellon University with a laser-focused plan. "I knew what I wanted to study, I knew the research I wanted to do and I had planned out my classes for all four years," she said. Along the way, plans began to morph. A native of Bogota, Colombia, Salazar has been part of the CMU community for more than eight years, helping to shape the community first as an undergraduate, then a staff member and now as a graduate student pursuing her MBA in the Tepper School of Business.

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Meet the ACS Scholars

They represent 30 academic programs across Carnegie Mellon. They come from 16 U.S. states and six countries, from Chile to Pakistan. They’re involved in more than 100 student organizations, athletic teams and other campus groups. What do these 40 Tartans have in common? They’re all ACS Scholars — an elite group of undergraduate seniors representing the top 2 percent of their graduating class.

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SWEet Success: Bridging The Gender Gap In STEM

The Society for Women Engineers (SWE) has a thriving and active chapter at Carnegie Mellon University. With 240 members it is one of the larger student organizations at CMU. "SWE's whole mission is just to support women in STEM, whether that be engineering, math or science," said Alyssa Brown, who is a senior in mechanical and biomedical engineering and the president of CMU's chapter. The organization is open to everyone, not just those who identify as women.

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Giving Back

Thirty thousand is a big number. It represents the amount of people who have ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, at any given moment. It's also the number of times that Alex Sahinidis juggled a soccer ball over an 11-hour period to raise money for the Live Like Lou Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to finding a cure for the disease.

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Community App Aims to Keep CMU Students Connected at a Distance

A team of Carnegie Mellon University students has turned an idea for a class project into an app to help their peers navigate the remote university experience. At the beginning of the spring 2020 semester, Snehita Sana and Nina Zanarelli ventured into the unknown in a course titled "Design for Social Innovation." The two became friends and decided to plan their end of semester project together. Then came COVID-19, and students were challenged to pick a group of people affected by the coronavirus, identify their problem and design a solution. Sana chose a group she knew best — her fellow CMU students.

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Fostering Community Through COVID

Carnegie Mellon University students and faculty are engaging with campus remotely this year, and those on campus are navigating strict physical distancing protocols. CMU students are nothing if not resourceful and optimistic, finding creative ways to enjoy their extra-curricular activities while building a sense of camaraderie. Student groups have innovated and adapted to operate during the pandemic.

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Doubling Down on Tartan Scholars

First-year student Melina Castillo came to Pittsburgh from Los Angeles to attend Carnegie Mellon University. A cross-country move during a pandemic is already a challenge, and Castillo had added obstacles that come with a limited-resource background. Luckily, Castillo is part of the Tartan Scholars, a CMU program specially designed to support students who are academically high-achieving but may have experienced opportunity gaps.

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New Tartans Unite in Taiwan

While the United States works to contain COVID-19, Steffi Chern has been hitting the links mostly solo near Hsinchu City in Taiwan. A member of Carnegie Mellon University's women's golf team, she's excited for the day when she'll be able to travel to the United States to practice with teammates in Pittsburgh. Chern, a business administration student, and Aaron Chen, a statistics and machine learning major, created a Facebook Messenger group for the CMU Taiwan Class of 2024. Members of the group met in Taipei during Labor Day weekend for a hot pot dinner and in Taichung in September to play darts.

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Extracurriculars Complete CMU Experience

From the figure skating club to Greek life to the Kiltie Band, Carnegie Mellon offers more than 400 clubs and student organizations. Remy Goldberg is among a cohort of students who said that getting involved outside the classroom has enhanced their CMU experience — though their experiences are different this semester due to COVID-19.

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Servant Leadership Helps Senior Empower Others

Kai Huizenga came to Carnegie Mellon University knowing they wanted to serve as a resident assistant (RA). Their older sister had been an RA at her university a few years prior, and Kai saw how she benefitted from that role as a servant leader. Kai hails from New Jersey, where, as a nonbinary person, they did not see a lot of queer or gender-nonconforming representation around them. Kai wanted to become the type of RA who created an expansive, inclusive space for students to live, learn and explore their identities. As they enter their senior year, Kai is preparing for a third year of service and helped lead this year's new virtual Pre-College programming.

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Whitney Museum Adds Student's Work to Permanent Collection

The Whitney Museum of American Art acquired the artwork "Koupe Tet, Boule Kay" by School of Art senior Steven Montinar for its permanent collection. The work began as a way for Montinar to improve his drawing skills during quarantine, he said. Though he had never used Adobe Illustrator before — and lacked any sort of drawing tablet that most artists consider essential to working in the software — over the course of two weeks he created the digital illustration.

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Roborace Team Prepares for First Competition

An autonomous car programmed by a Carnegie Mellon University student team will race for the first time Sept. 24-25 when Roborace, an international competition for autonomous vehicles (AVs), begins its season on the island of Anglesey in Wales. In Roborace, each team prepares their own artificial intelligence algorithms to control their race car, but all of the teams use identically prepared AVs, compute platforms and venues. The CMU team has been working this summer on the fundamentals of driving and on building an optimal driving path, but only recently have had the chance to run their computer code on a hardware simulator.

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Esports Club Brings CMU Gamers Together

When the COVID-19 outbreak forced much of the world to transition to a virtual setting, the CMU Esports Club already existed in that virtual realm and didn't have to press pause on their games. The club offers students a space for both competitive and casual gameplay. Before the pandemic, CMU Esports members enjoyed meeting in person for LAN parties, watching esports events and running tournaments — they also organize their own multi-organizational convention, known as ScottyCon. The convention acts as a place for gamers, artists, cosplayers, anime lovers and more to gather and celebrate their interests.

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