Hannah S | El Camino College
Q&A: Chemical Engineering Major – Hannah S (3:00)
I am studying chemical engineering, and I chose this major because I’m really passionate about energy storage devices and developing them so they don’t pollute the environment, and to help make more sustainable societies.
College is a great experience. You meet so many different people with different backgrounds and are so diverse from you, they definitely open up your mind view to the world around you, and you get to make great friends that you’ll have for a very long time. It’s kind of a great thing, to be with people that are from different backgrounds because it makes you more diverse. And so when you get into your career field, you can work with many different people from different backgrounds.
Finding a college is pretty difficult. Everyone tells you what school you should go to or you want to go to the one with the biggest name or the best football team, but that might not be the case. Schools, they are your next home. They’re the people that you’re going to become friends with, they’re going to be the place that you’re going to grow and mature into a young adult, and it’s really important to pick a school that feels like a home. You should be at a place that they share the same values as you. Don’t pick the first school because people think you should go there. Take your time.
Initially, I was studying biology before I found a passion in engineering. I didn’t know about engineering in high school. It wasn’t until I kind of wanted to start taking more math classes and to go into calculus, and the only way to do it was to think about becoming a chemistry major or engineering. I had the opportunity to research on energy storage devices, and that kind of opened up my eyes to what I can possibly do in a different field than biology.
Right now, I’m paying for college by getting scholarships through my community college. Also, during the summer I try to work. [This one?] way I’ve been doing that is I’ve been getting a summer internship at a research and development lab. So not only am I getting experience in the career field I want to go into, but also, I’m being paid to do it. And that’s a great opportunity for paying for college, and for building your resume up for when you want to transfer or to go into your career.
Studying doesn’t have to be boring. You can definitely find fun opportunities by using different colors, using flashcards, or even trying to find videos online that sing or rap something you’re supposed to memorize. My favorite is actually the song about the periodic table that helps me memorize all of the elements.
For my classes, I’m usually one of four girls, maybe even less. So what I do to kind of empower myself is on the first day of class, I wear a dress because I want to show that I’m a female and I’m there to study and to learn. And as the semester goes on, I’m showing off that I can study hard and I can be a smart girl, and that even if I wear a dress that doesn’t mean anything. I can be a female and I can be smart and I can love STEM and technology. So be empowered by that. You’ll make a great network of women around you because they have the same passions with you, and they understand the struggles we all go through.