A lot of people ask me how I feel about being a girl studying engineering. Every time I hear this question, I am kind of taken by surprise. Being a girl in engineering is so normal at Viterbi that I sometimes forget I’m in a male dominated field.
There are many strong groups of women within Viterbi. For example, the Society of Women Engineers is a very active network of women who hold regular events focused on professionalism and industry connections, as well as bonding with other women engineers. There is also a Women in Engineering group, as well as major-specific group focusing on women such as Women in Computing. In addition, many of the leaders of the organizations within Viterbi are women, including design teams, honor societies, and professional societies.
I’ve found that we do have these resources and support systems for women, but I have never felt obligated to join them because I never felt as if I was in need of a support network. These female networks are a means of augmenting an experience, not a tool for survival.
As a woman at Viterbi, I am treated with the same amount of respect as my male peers. I have never felt threatened or intimidated by my classmates, or by my professors. I have always been treated as an equal. I think this is one of the things that makes Viterbi special – everyone is given the same treatment.