[E]ngineering is a field that I have always interested in, even before I knew that it was engineering. As far back as I can remember I enjoyed taking objects in my house apart – the remote control, my Barbie convertible, pretty much anything that had exposed screws, I went after. The curiosity to figure out how things work, and the exponential ability to re-work them to complete new tasks, has forever intrigued me. This curiosity has plagued me since I was young. My parents told me that I studied the way my twin sister threw her weight around in her walker to move, before I even tried to move my own. Once I was confident in the principle of the idea, I took my first walker-assisted steps.
Once I was fully capable of walking on my own, I loved when I could help my dad fix things around the house: Loose door knobs. Running toilets. Broken faucets. I was not the only beneficiary of my chronic curiosity, at home I was in charge of all of the DVD players, the VCRs, computers, including setting up maintaining, and reminding my mom how to use any of the audio visual equipment. My favorite part was when he let me roam around Sears and play (carefully) with some of the hardware.
Up until recently I took for granted the knowledge that I had accumulated about how things work. It took a failed bike ride for me to realize that the rest of my friends didn’t see gears, chains, and brakes in the same clarity that I understood them. I began to realize that all the things that I loved doing fell into the engineering discipline when I started to study robotics. The mechanics of how all of the different aspects, hardware and software, work together to make a functioning machine continues to thrill me. For me the choice to major in Engineering was made when I stopped reading the instruction manual for assembly required products.
Aside from the obvious obstacles that all engineering students have to over come, a rigorous course load, less time for social activities, pressure to find an internship and co-op to be competitive upon graduation, I have the added obstacle of being a women in a mostly male dominated field. I’ve had to continue overcome this obstacle throughout my life, during my study of robotics, in my engineering classes in high school and college, and in the clubs that I’m in at college, the women are critically outnumbered.
To graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering will mean to me that I will know how to think critically. Not only will I be well versed in physics, and calculus, but I will know how to manage my time, resources, and emotions to be productive.
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