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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Diamond Jubilee in Trafalgar Square.

Viterbi Summer Overseas in London

Diamond Jubilee in Trafalgar Square.

Diamond Jubilee in Trafalgar Square.


The past six weeks have flown by, and it is crazy to think that I only have two more weeks left in London! With at least one main essay each week, homework, weekly quizzes, traveling every weekend (and I mean every weekend), and trying to see London to feel like I actually lived here, I have decided that sleep can wait. This has been the most hectic, exhausting, and incredible adventure that I have experienced, and I have Viterbi to thank for it!

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned my main worry about living in London: a lack of peanut butter. Luckily, there is no shortage of peanut butter whatsoever! London is primarily fueled by Nutella, but peanut butter is easily found. Needless to say, I am very happy about this! It is funny, though, how big Nutella is. When going through security at an airport, there are always the examples of “what not to bring” in your carry-on. At home, it’s always water bottles and large-sized toiletries. In every European airport that I’ve been in, there is always a jar of Nutella on display along with the toiletries and water bottles. I found that pretty bizarre and funny!

Anyways, I have found that living in London has been much easier than anticipated, but doing all of the touristy-stuff in London has been much harder than anticipated. I’m pretty directionally challenged, but I’ve found that it is very easy to get around here! There are maps almost every block, hundreds of bus and tube routes that can take you anywhere you want to go, and people who are always willing to point you in the right direction. I’ve been able to find my way to and from many of the main areas of London, and I’ve never gotten lost to the point of panic!

Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey.

Though I feel like I have seen most of the areas of London, I do not feel like I have seen any of them in enough depth.  I don’t feel like I have been to even half of the main tourist attractions. Like I said earlier, I have been traveling every weekend, so I haven’t had much time to spend at the museums or on main tours within London. I wish I stayed in London more often, but traveling to different countries and cities within England has been spectacular!

I have been to Stonehenge and Bath, the Seven Sisters cliffs, Dublin, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Oxford, and will be going to Brussels this coming weekend. Culturally, I think I would have to say that Dublin was my favorite because of the live music. Scenically, I would go with Edinburgh because it felt like I was in a medieval castle-village. It was funny in Edinburgh because every building looked like a castle and was made of beautiful stone and brick, but then you would look at what was inside the building and it would be a McDonald’s or H&M. Definitely not what I was expecting, but it was really cool how they could keep the whole scenic feel of the area even within the main center of the city. Food-wise, I’m thinking that Brussels will be my favorite with Belgium chocolate, waffles, and the original French fries, but that’s just a guess!

Edinburgh, Scotland.

Edinburgh, Scotland.



Traditional Irish Band at Open Mic Night.

Traditional Irish Band at Open Mic Night.











Seven Sisters Cliffs.

Seven Sisters Cliffs.













The highlights of London for me have been the markets. Borough Market and Portobello Street Market are musts while in London. Borough Market has about every kind of cuisine you can imagine, but for me, the highlights are the fresh fruits and vegetables and cheeses! Portobello Street Market also has street food, but there are more vintage vendors selling clothes, jewelry, souvenirs, and small trinkets of all sorts. Both markets are fun to shop at, and they’re perfect for unique London souvenirs. They are also the perfect places to pick up an assortment of food for a picnic at a local park, which has been one of my favorite things to do.

I am sad that this program is coming to a close, but my plan is to fit as much into these next two weeks as humanly (and homework-permitting-ly) possible!


Summer kick-off in South Korea!

Hey everyone! I hope you are all having a fantastic summer! Mine is off to a great start.

I spent the first two weeks of my summer in South Korea with my iPodia class. Cassandra, Steve, Vlad, Gavin, Zach, and Lyssa were also there! I had an unforgettable experience in South Korea. The city we were staying in was beautiful Daejeon- home of KAIST campus. It was wonderful to reconnect with the KAIST students who visited us back in February- and just as great to meet our other classmates from China, Israel, and Germany in person!

Here were some of the highlights from our stay:

-Visiting the Jeonju Traditional and Cultural Center, where we made Bibim-bop, an authentic Korean dish, learned about Korean theater and percussion, and even learned how to host a traditional tea party.


-Attending the USC Global Conference, where we saw a few familiar faces- Viterbi Dean Yortsos and USC President Max Nikias.


-Getting an up close look at a Hyundai production facility


-Going to the World IT Show


-And who could forget, presenting our final projects with our international teammates!


The trip was part of a class, so we did have a lot of work to do while we were there- but that didn’t stop of from having fun. Being in a new and unknown city for a couple of weeks was the perfect way for me to mentally transition into summer after such a busy semester. Plus, I made tons of great new friends!

When I got home from South Korea, I spent a few days having fun with some high school friends. Highlights of the week: Going to a live taping of “The Voice” (and if you’ve ever met me, you know I’m a diehard Maroon 5/Adam Levine fan) and going to an Angels vs. Cubs baseball game! If you were wondering, the Cubs won.

Since then, I’ve started my internship at Boeing. I love it so far!  I’ve been given really great assignments and I’ve been able to draw on what I’ve learned in multiple classes back at USC- but I’ll save all of this for another blog!

Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

Until next time!

My team with students from USC, PKU, and KAIST

Starting Summer with some Travel!

So far this summer, I have had the opportunity to do some travel abroad and nearby.  I spent the first two weeks of summer in South Korea with the Viterbi iPodia program.  This experience was really amazing; part of the class was getting to know students from China, Korea, Israel, and Germany, and it was awesome working with these students all semester and then finally getting to meet them!  My team had students from PKU in Beijing and KAIST in Daejon.  We also got to explore a lot of the Korean culture.  Naturally there was a ton of Korean BBQ, but we also got to learn how to make the traditional meal of bibimbop.  We also spent a day at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea which was particularly interesting- we were only 600 ft. from the border! One of my favorite parts was spending the night in a Buddhist temple.  Even though we had to get up at 4:30 am to do 108 bows to Buddha, it was a really immersive experience to learn about the culture.  It was such an amazing trip!

Once I got back to the states, I had an adventure a little closer to home.  I spent a weekend in the mountains and got to experience the beautiful scenery that the California Sierras have to offer.  It’s amazing the different types of scenery you can find in California, and that you can be at the beach in the morning and drive just a few short hours to the beautiful mountains.   It was great to have a peaceful weekend watching stars and going on hikes.

I have a few more short trips to the mountains planned for the summer, and I’m also very excited about my internship at a nanotechnology company in Orange County, which I started a few weeks ago and will definitely blog about soon!



Summer Escapades!

It seems like just yesterday that I was getting ready to go to the Kansas Cosmosphere to work as a space camp counselor for the summer after my freshman year. Now, I am studying for my last set of undergraduate finals and getting ready for post college life. And, while it is an anxiety ridden time, it is also a very exciting one, especially because this summer is going to be an eventful one.

After commencement next week, I will be traveling to South Korea for 2 weeks with the iPodia class that I am TA-ing. There, we will get to meet, in person, the students from Israel, Germany, South Korea, and China who are also a part of the class. We will get to explore a lot of the area around KAIST and even Seoul, the country’s capital. Oh, AND we get to go to a day of the USC Globalization Conference that will be hosted in Seoul. (I hear the Governator is going to be there too and I’m secretly hoping we’ll get to meet him.)


My iPodia trip to Taiwan last year! All of us Midwesterners in front of a temple



Enjoying Taiwanese street food!

After South Korea, I am coming back to Los Angeles for a couple days to pack up my room, store away some of it, and then drive down with the rest to Waco, Texas for my summer internship at SpaceX’s Test Facility. I’ll be there from June to the end of August and am VERY excited to get to work there (I mean, who wouldn’t be excited to see rocket engines get fired almost every day?). Once I’m done in August, things start to get a little hazey. But, I am excited to see what happens and where this next phase of life takes me!

Since this is my last blog post as a VSA, I wanted to wish all of you that are about to start your undergraduate careers the very best of luck. These next four years will undoubtedly bring a roller coaster of experiences and emotions, so prepare yourself, and, most importantly, remember to enjoy the entire ride!

Seoul, South Korea

Reflecting on Spring ’13 and Looking Forward to Summer

Wow! I cannot believe it is already the last week of classes! This semester flew by, and as sad as I am to be halfway finished with my time here at USC, I am ready to move into summer.  My classes this semester have been really interesting- especially my separations class (CHE 350).  I found all of this really interesting and I loved designing distillation columns and figuring out how to best separate materials.  This seems extremely useful in my future endeavors.  I also loved my Technical Writing for Engineers class, where I worked with a group to write a 100 page proposal for a STEM class in local programs and even got to write about the science behind baking cookies! Ochem wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, and my art history class was super interesting too!

I am super excited to be heading to South Korea for iPodia with Steve, Gavin, Zach G, Kat, Cassandra, and Vlad.  My group project on creating a sustainable green campus along with students from KAIST and PKU is coming along wonderfully, and I can’t wait to actually meet the students I’ve gotten to know throughout the semester.  I’ve also never been to Asia, and I’m looking forward to exploring the culture with students who are from there.

As for the rest of the summer, I still have some decisions to make.  I’ve been offered by my research professor to stay at USC and continue my projects, and I also have some internship interviews coming up, so I’ll keep you all updated as I know more!

KAIST is a top university in South Korea, and I can't wait to visit!

My Summer Plans in South Korea and Dallas

I can’t believe this is my last week of undergrad classes. SCenior Year! I still have finals to look forward to, but on the other side of those finals, I’ve got an awesome summer to actually look forward to!

Commencement is May 17, then on May 19 I’ll be heading to South Korea with the iPodia Class to finish up our group projects on global innovation and attend the USC Global Conference in my second summer study abroad experience as a Viterbi Engineer.

I fly back from South Korea on June 1, stop by and grab dinner with my parents in Wisconsin, then leave for Dallas on June 2 to start my internship with Abbott Diagnostics on June 3!

Abbott makes a wide range of products, and I can't wait to experience working for them!

Abbott makes a wide range of products, and I can’t wait to experience working for them!

I’m super excited for this internship – lots of Viterbi engineers work for Abbott, but I don’t know of many people who have had the chance to wrok in this division before, so it should be interesting! I’ve also never been to Dallas, so I’m excited to explore the city.

This is honestly my first look at the Dallas skyline, and I'm excited

This is honestly my first look at the Dallas skyline, and I’m excited

After 11 weeks of interning, I’ll be heading back to Wisconsin for a few days, then coming right back to USC to finish up my Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering through the Progressive Degree Program. In addition to working on my masters, I’ll be staying involved with Viterbi next year as the Student Affairs Intern, where I’ll be working with programs like Freshmen Academy and KIUEL/Eweek as well as some other really exciting new initiatives, so if you’re going to be a new freshman in the fall, welcome to the Trojan family and I can’t wait to see you around!

Rome, Italy

Cheers from Across the Pond

Let me start by saying how hard it was to leave USC for an entire semester and follow that by saying I’ve never been happier. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to get back to my friends, witty professors, the weather (!!!!) and the consistency of life in LA– but I’m absolutely having the time of my life learning about the world.

I am studying at Queen Mary University of London taking three courses for major credit and one class just for fun where we meet in a different London museum each week. I share a flat with 5 locals and 3 other study abroad students but there are tons of USC students spread across campus. USC also has quite a few programs in London so I have friends in various parts if the city too.

Not only am I learning so much about myself, I’m getting to see more of Europe than I ever knew existed.  I have also gotten the chance to hit 27 cities in 14 countries so far with at least 13 more cities in 7 more countries coming up before I leave!  Thankfully classes are over and all I have between now and June 7th is 3 finals (each worth 100% of my grade in the class).

As an incoming freshman, I would have never guessed I’d get the chance to go abroad for a summer- much less an entire semester. I never dreamed of graduating early or of getting a masters by adding just one extra semester. I had no idea that the friendly faces of strangers in my sorority would become lifelong friends and travel buddies across Europe. Everywhere I turn, USC continues to exceed my hopes and expectations!!

Who says you can’t do it all?!
Honors engineering – check
Major in computer science – check
Play club hockey, join a sorority, get involved in various engineering and computer science groups- check, check, check
Repeat intern at Microsoft – check
Study abroad in London- check
Have a picnic at the Eiffel Tower, spend St Patty’s day in Dublin, worship inside the biggest church in the world, visit the oldest mosque, tour the most preserved ancient ruins, try authentic Belgium chocolate and German beer and get to snowboard the Swiss alps- checkity check check check
Then come back as a senior with only 14 units to complete over two semesters- check

What a blessing to experience so much.

Downtown London

My Summer: London Study Abroad!

This summer, I am going to be studying abroad in London at the USC ACCENT Center right next to the London School of Economics! I just signed up for the two classes I will be taking – the technical writing course that all engineers must take (WRIT340) and engineering economy (ISE460).


I have never been outside of North America, except for one trip in middle school when I visited Paris for a week with my French class. I am very curious what it will be like acclimating to a new culture, but I am very thankful that I will not have to deal with any language barriers in London.


My excitement pretty much masks all of my worries, but the one worry that I cannot seem to get out of my head is the fact that there is not peanut butter in Europe! Peanut butter is a primary part of my every day diet, and all of my friends that have been there tell me that it is super hard to get. I don’t know how that will go over, but I am starting to mentally prepare myself for the separation anxiety.


On a more serious note, though, I am super excited to go abroad and I cannot wait for all of the amazing experiences that will come with living and studying in a foreign country!


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