Beyond These Towers: President’s Circle Giving Society Member Onalie Sotak '07



Onalie Sotak '07

Like so many alumni, Onalie Sotak ’07 has fond memories of her time on the Hill. For Sotak, however, her WPI memories do not begin as a first-year student. As the daughter of the late Professor Christopher Sotak, the junior Sotak’s campus memories go back to her childhood. “From playing in Alumni Gym with my brothers as a kid to running on that curved racetrack above the basketball court and swimming in Fuller Memorial pool – WPI has been a big part of my life.”

“My father and a love for math are what drew me to WPI,” says Sotak. Her late father, who served as head of WPI's Department of Biomedical Engineering from 1999 to 2006, was a member of WPI's biomedical faculty for more than two decades and an internationally known researcher in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

“Through my WPI experience and my family connection to the university, I have become more appreciative each year of the opportunities I had at WPI. Helping to provide those same opportunities to future students is one way I choose to connect with the university.”  
Onalie Sotak ‘07

Sotak, a technical program manager with Google since 2011, is currently on an engineering team which manages the pool of computer resources that support Google Ads. Reflecting on her time at WPI, Sotak says, “My education experience was great; I felt supported throughout by faculty and that really helped when trying to navigate the different opportunities available to you as a WPI student (changing interests/majors, adding a minor, applying for a project site, etc.). I also enjoyed the size of the school and the campus; it was a tight community, but it never felt overwhelming - and all these years later I still have love for the Woo.”

Offering gratitude to her alma mater for the role it played in her professional success, Sotak says, “WPI taught me how to make sense of large data sets and apply critical thinking to poorly defined problems. There's a lot of data out there today, so being able to make sense of it all to make informed decisions has served me both in and out of the workplace.” 

With meaningful memories of her father and her time on the Hill, Sotak established the Onalie Sotak ’07 Scholarship, continuing her membership in WPI’s President’s Circle giving society. The President’s Circle is a community of WPI's most devoted and generous philanthropic donors who, through their leadership annual support, provide the critical resources necessary to advance the WPI mission. 

The Onalie Sotak ’07 Scholarship has a preference for female students studying biomedical engineering. When asked what she hopes the impact of her leadership level giving will be, Sotak says, “I want students to feel supported and to know someone believes in them as they navigate the unique challenges for women in STEM; knowing someone believes in you enough to invest in you can go a long way.”