Women are underrepresented in the
engineering profession and I’m thrilled UNF gave me an opportunity to
participate in a student organization dedicated to changing that ratio.
When I arrive at UNF, I became aware of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and had the opportunity to meet its president. She invited me to attend one of their meetings. One meeting and one nomination later, I became the secretary for the section. The president mentored me throughout my college career and I cannot be more grateful for her generosity, as well as that of the other members.
When I became president of SWE, we worked hard not only to get more women enrolled in engineering programs but also work hard to retain
them so they graduate. I also helped plan many outreach events in which we went into the K-12 schools to encourage more women to consider engineering.
Ironically, I did not start out
wanting to be an engineer. I grew up in a military family and moved from place
to place, country to country, every few years. I was a shy girl, and it was an
experience in itself to learn how to adapt to a new environment. I drowned
myself in coloring books, play dough, and puzzles. I was never really that
great in math, nor was I in science, but I was definitely a curious and
Because my family and I had moved many
times, college was never something for which we were preparing. When my father
finally retired in Jacksonville, I was accepted by UNF. I’m grateful for the
scholarship from the First Coast Manufacturers and the UNF Blue and Gold Merit
Scholarship for first-time-in-college students. If it wasn’t for these
scholarships, I may have not been able to attend college.
When I got to UNF I took a general
chemistry course that led me eventually to becoming chemistry major. It was then that I had the opportunity
to meet the SWE UNF president at the time. Still shy, she invited me to attend
one of their meetings. One meeting, and one nomination later, I became the FY09
secretary for the section, changed my major to mechanical engineering, and
never looked back. She had mentored me throughout my college career, and I can
never be more grateful for her generosity as well as the generosity of the
With the help of several professional development conferences, my confidence level soared. I was able to help my classmates and friends with their resumes, participate in mock interviews and prepare other students for the internship application process. My primary mission was to continue to mentor and guide future SWE leaders the way I had been mentored.
The faculty in the College of
Computing, Construction and Engineering also played a role. Because our
department is so small, the professors were readily available to provide advice
when needed. I feel the UNF experience
has taught me how to think critically as an individual, to find my own path and
reach my own goals. The faculty provides the right environment for that to happen
by being supportive but giving students the independence to grow.
Since graduation, I've been accepted into a management training program at General Electric Aviation. It's a very selective program — only one other UNF alum has been accepted before me. And, considering there are only 50 graduates nationwide selected for the program, it reflects well on the quality of a UNF education. The hands-on experiences in engineering, the opportunity to work in inter-disciplinary teams and the close relationship with faculty were a part of a UNF education and the keys to my success.
Thank you, UNF.