California State University Northridge
California State University Northridge
"Be prepared to study
a lot. Taking advanced math and science courses may help."
When did you know you wanted to become an Engineer?
I knew I wanted to be an engineer when I was in
high school. I had always been interested in a career that would benefit
the environment. I also excelled in math and science. I thought becoming
an engineer would give me an opportunity to combine my love of math and
science, and be able create designs that were environmentally friendly.
What is your college experience like in terms of the amount of time you
find you need to study each day?
Engineering courses require A LOT of studying. I spend about 2-3 hours
per day studying.
Are you incorporating any work experiences while you are a student?
(include both internships/co-ops and any other jobs you may be holding
while in school)
I got an internship my sophomore year with a
utility company. I have been there for 4 years now. Having an internship
allows you to see firsthand what you are learning in school. It also
reinforces the fundamentals, and can help you in understanding future
courses before you even take them.
How did you prepare for your college experience?
I prepared for college by taking as many Advanced Placement courses as I
could. For engineering, it is especially helpful to take calculus,
physics, chemistry, and some computer science courses.
Did/do you have a mentor that has helped guide you thus far? (If so,
describe the impact of this person on your education and career plans)
Not really. However, it would have definitely
helped make things easier.
Is there a specialty area you have focused on in engineering? If so,
what is it, and how did you decide on this specialty? Also, at what
point in your college experience did you decide?
I focused on Mechanical
engineering with an emphasis on environmental. I made this decision
after my freshman year. I think Mechanical engineering is a broader
field than Civil or Electrical. It gives you a better view of all
engineering disciplines, which you really need when designing any sort
of machine or mechanism. This broad outlook is what attracted me to
Is it hard to balance your engineering studies with other college
activities (entertainment, travel, having fun)?
Being an engineering major
is not easy. You do have to sacrifice a lot of time and energy for your
class projects and your homework. However, with working in teams, you
will find that you build friendships, and sometimes the work ends up not
really feeling like work.
Do you find yourself studying more in a team situation or alone? Do you
have a preference?
Both. It helps me to study
alone first, then with a team so I can get any questions answered.
What's the hardest thing you have found about your college experience
working toward a degree in engineering?
The hardest thing is realizing that your ideas
don't always work. You may have a great idea for a project, but it can
turn out to be more complicated than you thought. You have to work so
much harder to get it done, and then in the end, it might not even work!
What's the most rewarding aspect about working toward a degree in
The most rewarding aspect of working toward and
engineering degree is knowing that you will have the skills and
knowledge to contribute to innovations that can directly help or
Do you think you'll continue studying engineering, or do you think
you'll switch to another area? Why?
I think that I will
continue to study engineering because technology is always evolving, and
you have to keep up in order to continuously achieve better designs.
Do you have any idea what sort of industry or work you'd like to do when
you graduate? If so, how did you find out about this industry or field?
I always wanted to go into
the environmental field. As a graduating senior, I already have a
position lined up for that. I found out about the position through my
university's career center.
Do you think you'll want to pursue additional degrees after you complete
the one you are working on? Why or why not?
Not right away. It took me six years to finish my
degree, so I think I would like to work in industry for a while.
However, I may go back later to pursue a Master's degree in
Did you think that school will prepare you for the way the work gets
done in the real world?
Yes. You usually work in teams on class projects,
and this prepares you for working with future coworkers.
How many engineering schools did you apply to? How many accepted you?
I only applied to one school, and was accepted.
Did you have a "first choice?" Were you accepted into your "first
Yes and yes.
How did you decide which college/university to go to?
I researched the engineering program online. Also visited the Mechanical
engineering department at the university for a tour of the facilities,
and to have questions answered.
What should high school students be doing to prepare themselves to take
on the work that engineering students do?
Be prepared to study a lot. Also be prepared for a
lot of late nights in the lab. Taking advanced math and science courses
may help with this. Students usually discover whether or not they can
handle engineering after their freshman year.