Girls and STEM: A female engineer shares her path

Many people leave Disney World dreaming of becoming a princess, but when I experienced Disney for the first time as a three-year-old, I left the parks with a different dream: to become an engineer. I was enamored by the rides and became obsessed with learning how everything—from the roller coasters to the teacups—fit together and worked.

While I knew I wanted to be an engineer, I didn’t know which type of engineer I wanted to be. Fortunately, my parents handled my interest in engineering in the same way they handled other extracurricular activities: by finding every opportunity for me to learn about and experience engineering. Over the next decade, I learned about engineering by interviewing current engineers, going to summer camps, and absorbing information online.

When I was 13, I read a paragraph-long description about industrial engineering and knew what I wanted to do with my life. Today, I’m a senior industrial engineering student at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and I couldn’t be happier with the decision I made in my teens.…Read More

Opinion: Summer camp more beneficial than studying abroad, internships

When I was younger, I dreamt of spending my collegiate summer vacations abroad. I wanted to visit places like Spain, France and Italy (think Hilary Duff in The Lizzie McGuire Movie), USA Today reports. As I got older, I still held on to the study abroad dreams, but decided I wanted to work, too. I wanted experience. I wanted to be the coffee-grabbing, copy-making intern. Now, right in the middle of another summer vacation after four years in college, I’ve neither studied abroad nor interned somewhere. Instead, I spent my collegiate summer vacations doing something that has prepared me more for the “real world” than any study abroad trip or internship could have: I worked at summer camps…

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