Sarina asked Tricia Berry, The University of Texas at Austin

AddedTuesday, August 14, 2018 at 9:34 PM

What was your motivation for making it through your college education in Chemical Engineering with engineering being such a male dominate field?

I'm currently starting my freshman year in Chemical Engineering, Biomedical/Biochemical. Since moving in I've noticed an extremely gender-biased atmosphere. Looking at statistcs I've learned that since 1980 when the percentage of women in engineering was only five percent to today where the number of women in engineering is only fourteen percent. I just want your personal advice for making it through a B.S. in chemical engineering to potentially a Doctorate later and what made you want to keep going in furthering your education?

Thank you in advance!

Related to Chemical, Opportunities/Challenges for Women, Self Doubt, Social Concerns, Work Environment
  • Tricia Berry , The University of Texas at Austin
    Answered Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 3:12 PM
    How exciting to be starting your college career in such an amazing field! Chemical engineering is such a fabulous degree that can lead to careers in so many different fields from pharmaceuticals, to chemicals, to food and packaging, to personal care products, to the automotive industry and more. It also has a higher percentage of women than some of the other engineering disciplines and typically a great community of supportive students from all genders.
    As for making it through, get involved in or find a mentor through the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Women’s Initiatives Committee or the Society of Women Engineers to find a community of women to help support you. Get involved in programs designed for first year students at your university. Find a community to connect in with as having peer support is helpful in being successful in school. 
    I also encourage you to seek out help early and often from faculty, advisors and your peers. Visit office hours and get to know your professors. Connect with advisors frequently to help make sure you are on track with your degree plan. And seek out peers to share experiences, seek assistance, and have fun with throughout your time in college.
    Recognize that you need to be disciplined in your studies. Get tutoring (successful students don’t wait til they are failing to seek out tutoring). Again, visit professors during office hours. Schedule your study time (typically 3 hours studying outside the classroom for every hour in class). And be sure to take time for yourself and your health as well (sleep, exercise, take time for friends and family). Adapt as you can to different professors and classes and your new adventure in college…being adaptable and flexible and open to trying new things hel
    Maintain a positive attitude and stick with it. Regardless of major, career, job, etc., you’ll come across classes, professors, teammates that you aren’t thrilled with. Sometimes you have to just get through it while keeping the end goal in mind. The amazing opportunities you have with a chemical engineering degree make it all worth it! Smile, laugh, and press on! It’s a fabulous adventure.