So almost exactly a year ago, I shared my views and opinions about the meaning of being a female engineer/my experiences here at Viterbi. I really like that blog, and I think my message is pretty clear. To give you the Cliffnotes version of it, my stance has always been “Do the work.” No matter who you are, just do the work, and you will get what and where you want in life. That view hasn’t changed much, and I think I stand by it. USC in particular has never made me feel any differently for being a female engineering student vs. anything else. I first and foremost see myself as a student. Thinking about it now, I am one of three female students in my EE348 class (it’s a small class). But that’s not something I ever would have noticed without thinking about it too much. Furthermore, I see all the people in Viterbi, and even more specifically in my major/year, as a small family. When looking at this family, I don’t typically tend to see gender as a huge factor in my perception of it. I just see a group of people I love and with whom I share a large part of my life:)
Those things basically summarize my attitude on being a female engineer (i.e. it ain’t no thang). Outside of that, I think I have really embraced the reality of being a female in Viterbi. While I don’t typically notice the male:female ratio at our school (which is pretty great btw! 38% females in last year’s incoming engineering class), I do know that I have a lot of guy friends! I personally have always enjoyed having male friends, and being an engineer at USC is the perfect balance of having plenty of ladies around, but always having guys around to appreciate my sense of humor etc. A little bit about me: I love sports (basketball, football, and tennis in particular), and I love discussing professional and college sports. Needless to say, I’ve always had easy access to friends in my classes knowledgeable on and passionate about this subject. I also have a very colorful, Judd Apatow-like sense of humor, which I feel is generally well-received by males. In my study groups and the like, I kind of take on the role of entertainer to get all of us through the night. Yet, while exemplifying some of these more traditionally not-so-feminine qualities, I’m a total girl when it comes to my sense of style. On a typical day, you will find me walking around campus and Viterbi wearing a flowy dress, my hair wavy with moroccan oil (a product I recommend to all my friends of all genders), and a matching hat and wedges. I love being able to brighten up my classrooms with both my personality and my fashion choices:) In this way, being a girl in Viterbi is kind of the best. I feel very appreciated. It’s not that i get any special treatment or anything like that, but I do feel noticed for all aspects of my existence: intellect, leadership, humor, and style. I hope that everyone gets that feeling from being here, but being a particularly colorful female really reminds me of how awesome this place is. In one day, I can walk into a classroom, recap last nights game and this week’s trades with some of my friends, get a few compliments on the newest addition to my hat collection by others, and still lament about the sheer volume of work left to be done with everyone else.
Being a female doesn’t solely define my role here, but it certainly is a big part of who I am and how I am perceived. I try my best to reflect the notion that being a girl who is into technology, programming, hardware systems, sports, and (sometimes crude) humor doesn’t necessarily mean that a ton of other assumptions can be made about who I am, how I look, how I dress, how I act etc. Every person here is so special in their own way. Ladies (and gentleman), if you decide to join the Trojan family, prepare to meet tons of people with really interesting, passionate personality types, and prepare to have others appreciate those things about you.
Now, to conclude: a photoshoot put on by me and my EE ladies in the desert during spring break (bet you didn’t see that one coming). This is what being a Trojan lady to me is all about! Being an engineer, making nerdy jokes, having fun with all my friends, expressing myself through my musical and clothing choices, loving the Lakers and Rafa Nadal, and just being fierce etc. Let me know if you have any questions, and fight on!