If you are interested in engineering then you know that the industry is, historically, predominately male . However that is changing and the Viterbi School of Engineering is a great example of a progressive program that both welcomes and encourages women in engineering.
Back when I was deciding which college to attend, one of the factors that drew me to USC, and specifically to Viterbi, was the high percentage of women in the engineering program. At the time, the number of women enrolled in Viterbi was greater than the national average of women in engineering and greater than every other school I was applying to. I really just wanted to be at a school where I wasn’t going to be the only girl in my engineering class and that provided support for women in engineering.
During my three years at USC, I have seen the women in engineering percentage increase to over 30% in the incoming freshman and sophomore class and the amount of support for women increase. In my civil engineering classes, almost half of the students are girls – it could not feel less like a predominately male field. I have also been actively involved in the Society of Women Engineers, which provides support for women in engineering professionally, socially and academically. It has allowed me to create a great network and support system of strong, women engineers over the years. Once I graduate, I plan on staying active with SWE at a more professional level and continue that network.
My advice to women entering the engineering field would be to reach out to other women in engineering. There is a lot of support, especially at USC, but you have to seek it out yourself. It is also important to maintain that support network throughout school and into the professional world.