Kennesaw State engineering grad capitalized on opportunities

KENNESAW, Ga. | Dec 13, 2021

Alisa Machiwalla's interest in mechanical engineering was sparked at a young age by watching her father fix things around the house. 

“He’s super handy and I wanted to be like him,” Machiwalla said.  

This week, she will graduate from Kennesaw State’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SPCEET) with a degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in nuclear engineering. After graduation, she will put her education to use at a Georgia company where she will be working with control systems used in multiple industries.


Machiwalla grew up in Marietta and worried that she wasn’t branching out enough if she chose to enroll in a university close to home. She figured she might attend Kennesaw State for a couple of years and then transfer.  

“But when it came time to think about transferring, I didn’t want to go,” Machiwalla said. “I had great professors here and wonderful opportunities. I really appreciated the smaller classroom sizes and the ability to meet one-on-one with professors who actually got to know me.” 

Machiwalla was presented the SPCEET Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award in 2020 and has earned several scholarships throughout her time at KSU, including the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Engineering Integrated University Program Scholarship (2019, 2020, 2021), the Atkins Foundation Women and Minorities STEM Scholarship (2021) and the American Nuclear Society’s Raymond DiSalvo Memorial Scholarship (2021). 

Machiwalla, who is also in KSU Journey Honors College, was the American Nuclear Society Kennesaw Chapter president, she completed three rotations as an engineering co-op student with Southern Nuclear, interned with Enercon and served as a teaching assistant at KSU. 

Nuclear engineering professor Eduardo Farfan met Machiwalla in a class and instantly recognized her potential. 

“Her intelligence, courtesy, honesty and effort impressed me so much that I decided to invite her to participate in a research project conducted by the KSU Center for Nuclear Studies’ Nuclear Energy, Science and Engineering Laboratory (NESEL),” Farfan said. “Since joining NESEL, Alisa has been diligent about the research work she was given and has worked hard to make as much of a positive impact in the research group as possible.” 

Machiwalla has also been Farfan’s nuclear lab student assistant where she enjoys helping younger students succeed in the classroom. She plans to get her professional engineering license and is considering pursuing a graduate degree in the future. 

“My academic experience has absolutely prepared me for life after graduation,” she said. “I learned the engineering fundamentals and how to apply them. I’ve grown in so many ways since I first came on campus and am thankful for my KSU experience.” 

– Abbey O’Brien Barrows
Photos by David Casselli

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit