Sac State, and here's why: Aissatou Fall
June 15, 2023
The trees, culture, and diversity at Sac State connected immediately with Aissatou Awa Erykah Fall when her sister took her around Sacramento during her senior year of high school.
The cuisine was another attraction.
"(My sister) showed me around, went to many food places," Fall said. "We came to Sac State, we even went to Jamba Juice. That was my first time at Jamba Juice. I love it so much."
Those attributes, along with a chance to pursue Civil Engineering and her sister's own success at Sac State, convinced Fall to enroll in the fall of 2021.
Inspired by her uncle, a civil engineer, Fall said she is deciding whether to focus on environmental or structural engineering, but wants to keep her skills diversified.
"(At) Sac State, it's really what you want it to be. If you want to have a very full semester, be involved, it's easy to do it." -- Aissatou Awa Erykah Fall
Fall was born in San Francisco and lived in Marin County until she was 4 years old. She moved with her family to Senegal, West Africa, where she lived until she was 17.
She said she wants to use her education to give back to the places she's lived.
"There's just so many infrastructures that aren't done," she said. "The bridges we have (in Senegal) that are actually functional and good are limited. There's so many different things that you're, like, ‘Why isn't this finished? Why isn't this done?' Like the roads. I know I could help."
On campus, Fall stays active as president of the National Society of Black Engineers and a member of the Black Student Union and Society of Women Engineers.
During the Fall 2022 semester, she mentored middle school students as part of the College of Engineering and Computer Science's Tech Art Summit program, which exposes underserved children at a local charter school to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) to get them interested in engineering.
Ultimately, Fall said her goal is to work in civil engineering and help areas in need, particularly Black and low-income communities.
Fall commended Sac State's Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan, and the University's work on issues relating to race and diversity. She also wants to see more Black professors, especially in Engineering classrooms.
"It's just something I would have loved, to have someone to look up to a little bit," she said. "I do see the efforts, and I do appreciate them a lot. Do I wish more? Yes, definitely."
Fall, the recipient of multiple scholarships that helped her afford college, is scheduled to complete her bachelor's degree in spring 2024. Her future aspirations include pursuing a master's degree in Architecture.
She credits Sac State for its ability to welcome a wide range of students with varying interests, goals, and learning styles.
"(At) Sac State, it's really what you want it to be. If you want to have a very full semester, be involved, it's easy to do it," she said. "And if you want to be less active or not involved, it's easy to do that. I think it's really just what you make of it.
"The resources are there. Now, you do have to own up to it and be involved. And I definitely (am) making my experience great."