When I was five years old, my dream job was to be a Disney Animator. By the time I was ten, I dreamed of being either a Dolphin Trainer or a Pro Soccer Player–you know, the next Mia Hamm! A career in engineering never really crossed my mind in fourth grade. Little did I know, memories of marveling at suspended jets at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. would help pave the way for my future interests.
It wasn’t until I has halfway through my science & tech-focused high school that I realized physics could–maybe–be my thing. After all, it was the only subject that I could love, get frustrated with, yet still love, and then still wish I had more time to work on it! Nearly three years into getting my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, I feel so lucky that I found the right path for me. To think, I almost studied architecture!
Last weekend, I had an interview at an engineering company for a summer internship (I’m hoping to work after I get back from Italy!). Amid the rush of questions, one stood out in particular: “What is it like being a woman in engineering?”
My response? Actually, I was SO surprised! I tend to forget that I’m in the minority, that I’m unique in my field. I’m so steeped into engineering, and that it’s just second-nature. “Hmmm…” I start, buying a moment to think. “It’s great! Most of my classmates are guys, but I’ve become great friends with a lot of girls in my classes. Many of my best friends at USC are other girls in engineering.”
As a women in engineering, it’s true: there’s a huge sense of camaraderie and commonality with other girls, as well as lots of mutual respect and support. We all have different stories about how we decided to study engineering, and even more diverse plans about what we want to do with our degrees!