Coming into USC from a small all-girls high school that placed heavy emphasis on art, music, and liberal arts subjects, I was somewhat ambivalent about entering a coed college- let alone an engineering program! I had always gotten along well with my guy friends, but I was nervous about the possibility of being one of only a couple of girls in a predominantly male field.
I remember that I had several concerns: Would there be other girls in my classes? Would I be treated equally by my professors? Would I be accepted among my non-engineering female peers? These were all questions that I was struggling with prior to coming to college.
To be completely honest, I had forgotten that these were ever concerns of mine until a prospective female student asked me about it. For any girls out there who have similar feelings, I want to reassure you that there is nothing to worry about, either inside the classroom or outside.
First of all, I am not the only girl in any of my engineering classes. In most of them, I would say that it’s about a 50/50 ratio of girls and guys. Sometimes there will be fewer girls. In those instances, I’ve actually made better friends with the girls in my classes because we tend to work on team projects together. Still, I’ve only had one class where I even noticed a difference in the number of guys being higher.
I don’t feel that I’ve been treated any differently than the guys in my classes. Just like in high school, my professors like students who put effort into their classes- regardless of their sex. I have shown that I am interested in class material, and made an effort to get to know my professors outside of the classroom. As a result, I’ve made great relationships with my professors.
Walking around USC, there isn’t really any way to tell whether girls are engineers or not unless you know them. Viterbi girls are as diverse as the rest of USC’s female student body; we are made up of girly girls, tomboys, music groupies, Harry Potter nerds, athletes- you name it. As a result, we’re involved in all kinds of extra curricular activities. This is my favorite part of being a woman in Viterbi- it’s a community within a community. I’ve had the privilege to be of being ivolved in all kinds of stuff at USC. Some of my best friends at school are Viterbi women I’ve met in my non-Viterbi student organizations. Two of my best friends are Eloho, Julia and Stephanie- three Helenes who are also in Viterbi. The three of us share both a passion for service and the commonality of being in Viterbi.
Here’s a picture of the 4 of us giving a V for Viterbi!
To sum it up, I love being a woman in Viterbi. All I can say is that there’s really nothing to worry about. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail!