I’ve never really thought about being a female in engineering, but every time someone asks me what I study….whether it be a parent of a friend or someone I meet on a plane, they always seem surprised when I respond cheerily with ‘mechanical engineering.’ Their surprise has always made me chuckle a little, but I really can not imagine doing anything else.
Growing up, I always enjoyed building things. There’s plenty of videos of baby me crafting masterpieces of play-doh….the only problem is when you ask me what it is I have no idea…I answer everything from ‘it’s a pancake’ to ‘no no it’s a frisbee”…As you can imagine that ‘masterpiece’ looked simply like a flat round circle…At least I had a big imagination…In middle school, we had a class called ‘tech’ where we had to compete to build the tallest towers, that could hold the most weight without breaking. We also got to bend sheet metal to make dust trays and made molds to create a screw driver. This was my first experience in supervised construction of things. My twin sister and I went to summer camps in science. We still talk about how much fun we had building contraptions that had to search for a lost dog, or feed a pet while the owner was on vacation. We also made our own root beer!
In high school, as I was beginning my college search, I wanted more of all these projects and experiments. I loved math, science, and problem solving in general. (I guess my sister didn’t…she became a philosophy major if you were wondering!) My brother was studying aerospace engineering at that irish school we beat in football ever year. After I started talking to him, I wanted to know more! That’s what led me to apply to engineering schools, and once I got to SC, I never turned back.
I find being a woman in engineering pretty great! Sometimes it’s fun having a lot of guys in your classes…always a date for viterbi ball ;). (Check out that picture…that’s V-Ball 2012…Gatsby themed :)!!!) Embarrassingly (or awesomely) I lived on the Woman in Science an Engineering Floor of New/North my Freshman Year….thanks mom….but all joking aside, I met one of my best friends, Caroline (a civil engineer) whom I still live with to this day living next door to me! I find it funny that always getting asked about being a female in engineering, as if it’s taboo. Even entering college, it never really bothered me because I’ve always done what I wanted to do whether it be playing soccer with the boys at recess or choosing a major with historically more males. Like I said earlier, I can not imagine doing anything else. If I enjoy something this much, why wouldn’t I do it?