When a girl enters the classroom wearing heels and a dress, she is initially questioned by the professor or other students whether she is in the correct classroom. Is this girly girl smart enough to be in this class? Should we take this girl seriously? She is probably going to drop out of this class within a month because it’s going to be too hard for her. 

I was that girl who would enter a classroom wearing heels and a dress while going to calculus, physics, etc. because I enjoyed dressing up and wearing makeup for myself. 

So then what does an engineer look like? 

The answer is that there is not one way an engineer should look. As long as the person is able to solve the problem at hand using their technical knowledge, then he/she is an engineer. In order to prove that it is not about what I wear and whether or not I liked to wear makeup, I let my work speak for itself. I spent many hours studying, I was not afraid to ask the professor questions to get a better understanding of the subject, made friends in my engineering classes that did believe in me, and took on leadership positions within student organizations. 

Although there were a few professors who still did not seem to view that I was capable of becoming an engineer. I did not let their opinions stop me. I have since graduated with a degree in Engineering, I was able to get multiple internships while I was a student, and now I am working in my dream company. I wish the same success for you. So keep working hard, do your best, and prove people’s perceptions of you wrong. 

About me:

My name is Vanessa and I am a Civil Engineer. I am a first-generation Filipino-American engineer in my family. I first attended Community College, then I transferred to my local California State University to receive my Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering. I have a background in Land Development (grading design, drainage, storm water, and water systems) and I am currently working as a Transportation engineer. I enjoy promoting engineering on my Instagram at @itsvnessa. Feel free to follow me on my journey.

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