Theta Tau

Alumnus Spotlight

Alumnus Spotlight: Omar Abdul-Rahim

In August of 2015, I arrived at Cornell pretty unsure of what I wanted to study. I had declared Materials Science as my intended major, primarily because I had no idea what it was, but I ruled it out as an option soon after my first ENGRI. By the end of a confusing freshman year, I decided to pick a major and just stick with it (that major being Operations Research and Information Engineering). Now, I don’t mean to say that I didn’t find value in this wonderful field of study - in fact, many of the theory courses are what made me not regret staying in the College of Engineering at all. However, I knew I wouldn’t be able to withstand even a day in one of the full-time jobs that ORIE majors tend to fill.

I joined Theta Tau to find the sense of community and fulfillment within the College of Engineering that I was unable to find within my studies alone. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to get to know so many interesting and passionate people as well as I have. I love hearing about the lives and involvements of my Brothers, stories always told with so much depth of knowledge and enthusiasm, and I have always felt encouraged by the interest paid to the stories I tell. It was largely the support of my fellow members that gave me the confidence to pursue a professional opportunity that I love (product design at a startup in Nevada) rather than several that might be more typical of someone in my field of study. No matter where I go, I know that I can count on TT to have my back.

On another note, I’d like to say how proud I am of the significant inclusivity efforts the members of Theta Tau have accomplished so far. We, like all professional fraternities, have a history of problematic exclusion, but great and hardworking people within Theta Tau are working to confront that history and make changes that prevent us from ever returning to such practices. When I joined about two years ago, conversations about rush and education process inclusivity weren’t being had in any significant way. Now, members are educating each other about the variety of experiences within Theta Tau’s membership, questioning the ethics behind long-standing institutional practices, and reaching out to outside affinity organizations for added perspective. There is still a lot of work to do in this realm, but I am confident that with the enthusiasm to learn that I’ve seen from all our members and with our excellent D&I leadership (shoutout Celine Choo), the progress we see will continue to be great.