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Black girl who is interested in an engineering major but bad at building things

deloresthegreatdeloresthegreat 16 replies4 threads Junior Member
I'm a freshman in high school - should I try out engineering EC's? Should I go for an engineering major? As a black, first-gen female will there be scholarships available for me when my time comes? I'm on the track to taking Calculus before I graduate, and I will work on taking AP science courses.
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Replies to: Black girl who is interested in an engineering major but bad at building things

  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 5438 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Being a freshman in high school you should take the required classes and then those that interest you. Talk to your academic advisor /counselor/teachers to get advice on your curriculum. Does your school have an engineering track? Some schools do. That might be a good way to experience it. ECs are also a good idea.

    But first, gender and race don't really matter. Interest in math /science most likely does. Lots of engineers don't build anything but they like to figure out the best solution for the current problems they are facing. Working in groups with collaboration is key.

    Check out https://www.acementor.org/

    This is a great after school program maybe for next year or junior year. It is a free program and mimics what happens in the real world. Don't worry if you don't like civil engineering etc. It's a great introduction to the ideas of engineering, working in teams but also together and its a lot of fun.

    You are a bit early for this but look at your local colleges engineering requirements for incoming Freshman. That will give you an idea of what courses they expect from high school students. Many want more then the stated requirement. Ending with Calc 1 or higher is a great start senior year.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80177 replies720 threads Senior Member
    I'm a freshman in high school - should I try out engineering EC's?

    Trying out engineering ECs is a good way to get a taste of what engineering may be like so that you can know how interested you are in it.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 39963 replies2197 threads Super Moderator
    I'm a female structural engineer. I am terrible at building things! But I like using math to design things.

    I will say that I wish someone had told me how important spatial ability is. I have a hard time thinking in 3D, and that's pretty important for a structural engineer, ha. I've managed to train myself over the years, but sometimes I think I should have picked a different career.
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 385 replies4 threads Member
    Try to look for programs or mentorships related to engineering. Talk to your GC or other parents to see if they know any engineers that you can job shadow. The National Society of Black Engineers usually has a presence at most universities and some high schools. If your're near a chapter maybe reach out to them?

    Majoring in engineering and being an engineer aren't always tied together. Plenty of people who major in engineering work in other fields like finance, computers, or become doctors or lawyers.

    As a first-gen, URM if you decide to study engineering please take advantage of tutoring and career counseling. There are services at universities to help students who might not have attended a top high school. They help kids who might not be as well prepared for the rigors of engineering school.

    That said, most of the people I know who became practicing engineers love to tinker, build, and break things. Many others I know went to med school, work in finance, or actuary work.

    Good luck.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8737 replies82 threads Senior Member
    The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) would be another group to look into in your area. They typically run all kinds of free programs for girls looking to explore and learn more about engineering.
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  • GumbymomGumbymom 29143 replies251 threadsForum Champion UC Forum Champion
    Your other posts indicate you are a CA HS freshman and are interested in CA schools especially the UC’s. The Cal states and UC’s Carnot consider race or ethnicity in their admission decisions. Your SES ( socioeconomic status) and first generation is a consideration however.

    If you want an extra tip with your URM status, then you would need to target private colleges that would want your diversity.

    Regarding classes, you would want to maximum the a-g courses required for the UC’s and Cal states which would also fulfill all the college requirements across the US.

    4 years Math up to Calculus if possible
    4 years Science including Biology/Chemistry and Physics
    3-4 years of a Foreign language
    2-3 years of History (US, World, European and Government)
    1 year of Visual Performing Arts (Art, Music, Choir, Band etc..)
    1 year of an Elective such as Psychology, Economics.

    Does your HS offer PTLW courses in some of the Engineering disciplines? These might be an option.

    Also does your HS have a Robotics club?

    You have been given plenty of suggestions in the above posts so best of luck and HS is a great time to explore all options.

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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 9248 replies83 threads Senior Member
    edited January 10
    Engineering is a lot of math and analysis. I've always liked math - my high "sport" was Math Team ;)
    edited January 10
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5656 replies124 threads Senior Member
    If you need any further evidence, my son's sum total of engineering ECs was math club. His experience "building" things stopped pretty much with Legos. He's now a mechanical engineer.

    BTW, if you want the most benefit from this forum, you need to engage with your own thread.

    Good luck!

    P.S. @Gumbymom knows more about the UCs and CSUs than most posters out here. As far as first gen and socioeconomic status, at least at Cal Poly, it is taken into account in a very circuitous way. First gen per se, gets you nothing. You are only given a boost if one parent or both parents did not finish HS. Low socioeconomic status is only taken into account indirectly, sort of through assumption, if you go to a Hayden Partner school. Other schools use different criteria and at least a couple of the UCs are "holistic."
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