Photo by Whitney Curtis. Written by Sofia Joison.
Sofia Joison is a senior majoring in computer science. She graduated in May 2018.
I could tell you some staggering statistic about the lack of women in the engineering field, but you already know that. The conversation, while not new, is still not over. Engineering isn't easy (any engineer reading this can attest to that), and if it were, it wouldn't be so rewarding. Having support and people to fall back on is crucial within this field. That's when I thought of synergy and how the coming together of entities generates a greater value than being apart. This word really struck me because there is a certain power in an embracing community of women within engineering. That's exactly why WashU's Women & Engineering initiative is so important.
Mentoring is critical to the success of women and minorities across engineering industries. This is not just intuitive, but also backed by research that states that female engineers feel more motivated and self-assured when they have a strong female mentor. Think about a mentor you've had. How did they define the trajectory of your career? One of the goals of WashU's Women & Engineering seeks to connect past, present and future female engineers to provide the support needed to rocket (for some, quite literally!) your career forward.
As a future computer scientist, I often found myself looking around the classroom wondering if I fit in. Do I really have what it takes to be a software engineer? Am I talented enough to make it in the tech industry? These fears and doubts were abated through my time as president of Society of Women Engineers and working with the members and staff of WashU's Women & Engineering. I am incredibly grateful for the courage and wisdom I have gained through this experience, and I know that I'm better for it. The mentors, advice and support I have received through this program drive me to start and continue a career in engineering and pay it forward to future female engineers.