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I’m A Girl And An Engineer…And That Makes Perfect Sense

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.

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lyssa

Being a Viterbi Woman Engineer

Hi Everyone! When I first decided that I wanted to apply to college as an engineering major, I started to worry about being a woman in such a male-dominated field. When I began attending classes in Viterbi, however, I realized that I was concerned for no reason! I thought I would tell you a little about what it is like being a women in engineering at Viterbi.

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Having fun in the Rose Garden right next to campus

Women in Viterbi – a big deal, or totally normal?

When I tell people outside of Viterbi that I am an engineer, I get everything from surprise to respect.  Wow, you’re an engineer??  Why don’t you choose an easy major and enjoy your 4 years of college?  However, my past 4 years here have proven that being a woman in Viterbi is no big deal while also being a HUGE deal at the same time.  I have been able to fully enjoy the ‘traditional college experience’ through student orgs, making great friendships, challenging myself through classes, and most of all having a blast doing it.

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Making ice cream with liquid nitrogen

What It’s Like as a Girl in Engineering

I still get looks of surprise when people ask me what I’m studying and my response is that I’m a chemical engineer. These shocked expressions are typically followed by a series of questions such as the following:

No, what are you really studying?

Really?

What’s it like to be a girl in a field so strongly dominated by males?

But you’re in a sorority?

And frankly I don’t get it. Why is it so hard for people to wrap their heads around the fact that not all engineers are males? Why is it so difficult for people to grasp the fact that I am in a sorority and in Viterbi. For some reason, the two aren’t supposed to go hand in hand. But they do.  So I’m here to address those frequently asked questions.

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Some friends and I in Madrid

Being a Woman in Engineering

With graduation rapidly approaching I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my experience at USC, particularly as a woman in engineering. To be honest, I haven’t noticed a difference in my experience compared to my guy friends in engineering or USC in general. While my classes aren’t 50% girls, the ratio is high enough that I don’t even notice it in my classes. I’ve had such an incredible experience at USC, from my classes to doing research to studying abroad, and participating in student orgs, club sports, and greek life.

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Why I chose USC and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else!!

Hey everyone! Happy Sunday! I just got back from Hawaii for spring break which was amazing and it’s definitely hard to get back into work mode after that, but this week I wanted to share about what made me choose USC.  Choosing college is by far the most difficult decision I had faced at that time, and it’s a huge commitment to choose somewhere for four years, but USC not only lived up to my expectations but far exceeded them.

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SWE USC at the Regional Conference

SWE Regional Conference in San Diego!

Hi everyone! Last weekend I went on my last SWE conference as an undergrad, the Region B Regional Conference. Like the National conference, the Regional Conference rotates location each year. Last year we went to Salt Lake City for a weekend of workshops, networking, and skiing, and this year we headed down to San Diego!

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