Jenny Monsen

Jenny Monsen

President's Scholar

Industrial and Systems Engineering
Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering


Why did you choose your major?

I chose Industrial and Systems Engineering because I have never wanted to build rockets or design circuits. In that sense, I have never been a hands-on builder. I am, however, a hard worker who is particularly adept at math and statistics, so I knew that engineering would be a good fit for me. Industrial engineering is the perfect medium because I can use my technical and mathematical skills to improve what other engineers have already made. I love the creativity and problem solving involved and, since it is such a broad field, I have the ability to branch off into a specialization of my choice. Even though I didn't know exactly what my major was when I chose it, I am definitely developing a passion for it.


What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

This is my third year gaining the distinction of President's Scholar, and I have been honored and excited every time. Gaining recognition for academic achievement is always a good reminder that my work is meaningful and worthwhile. It is an extra boost of motivation, and I am proud to represent SJSU and put it on my resume.


Who has been influential in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic success?

My academic success has been mostly due to my deeply ingrained "worker bee" mentality, which I owe entirely to my parents. They are a constant source of support and love and I am so grateful that they taught me from a young age to always produce my very best work. I also owe a large portion of my success to my professors here at SJSU, particularly Dr. Dessouky. They have motivated me and taught me so much and I am very fortunate to have my college experience enhanced by such knowledgeable, sensible, and fair professors. They truly care about their students and that makes all the difference. My academic success would also not be possible without my friends, sister, and boyfriend, all of whom keep me sane during midterms and exams.


Did you overcome any hardships or adversities in your life that have helped shape who you are today?  And if so, could you please briefly elaborate?

I think there are hardships in everybody's lives, both seen and unseen, that mold us into who we are. Most of these are silent struggles, unknown to classmates and professors, and the ability to overcome their influence is what builds character and maturity. I have had a very fortunate life, but the highs and lows I have experienced during my time at SJSU have made me a better person. One of the most important lessons I have learned is to wake up every morning with hope, even in the face of hardship, cancer, illness and heartbreak, and find a reason to smile every day.


What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

College is far too expensive and special to waste. It may be the only time in our lives when we have the ability to learn so much and stretch to the exterior boundaries of our potential. Take pride in your work and find pride in yourself because confidence will lead to success.


How do you envision yourself in 5-10 years?

I am starting to consider the possibility of graduate school, and I'd like to eventually have a career as an industrial engineer for Disneyland, but these are the only long-term goals I have. I lead my life with an open mind to opportunity and adventure and I am sure that time will take me down roads I never imagined. This quote was posted on the wall of my fifth grade classroom, and I am finally now starting to understand it: "Not all those who wander are lost" -- J.R.R. Tolkien.


Nominated by the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering