Meet Erin Walker. She is a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering.
What made you choose this major?
“I actually came to be a biomedical engineer student, but to be a biomedical engineering major here, you have to switch to Georgia Tech after your second year. I was like ‘I don’t really want to switch’. So, I decided to go down the mechanical engineering track first and finish that out. Now, I’m probably either still trying to get my doctorates or take a biomedical masters.”
How does being one of the only women in your classrooms affect your work ethic?
“It makes me want to work harder just to show like ‘I can do this’. Especially being one of the only black females in my thing, that’s really important. Just to be like ‘I’m here’, and not just another woman trying to be in STEM. I can actually do it and just have to apply myself harder.”
What does your STEM classes typically look like gender-wise?
“Males, it’s mostly males. Especially my freshman year, there might have been only one or two females in my classes. Now, I feel like it is majority white men, but it’s a couple females. For the most part, if I have taken a class, I probably have seen the same women in most of my classes.”
Do your teachers tend to ask the males more questions than the females? If so, how does that make you feel?
“Sometimes. I wouldn’t say yes though only because I feel like since we are on zoom, they call randomly. So, it’s not a male or female , it’s like I see your name do you want to answer. I feel like males tend to ask the most questions so they [teachers] are quicker to ask them more questions and help them out more since they are putting themselves out more. At least with me personally I’m like ‘Let me go ahead and get this work done to show you I don’t really need you to help me’.”
Have you completed any internships yet?
“No, I haven’t completed any engineering internships, but my ultimate goal is to create a non-profit to teach women about STEM engineering, the importance of it, and what careers you can go down with it. So, I have done internships with teaching to prepare for that.”
What is your future career?
“My end goal is to create a non-profit to work with women and kids in middle school specifically. After school, I’ll probably work as a mechanical engineer for a little bit then go into teaching”
What impact do you want to make in your career?
“With me, I don’t think I knew anybody who was a female engineer. I probably learned about it in 11th grade. So, just to give them that experience. Just to see a lot of black women in engineering.”
What company do you wish to work for?
“Currently, I do not have a company I do wish to work for. I do hope I can stay in Atlanta. Georgia Power. Southern Power Company. Both of them, and anywhere in Atlanta really.”
What do you want to achieve before you graduate college?
“I just want my name to be out there, I want to be known for something like “ Erin, yeah, she does this or she works hard. To work with kids in STEM. Hope to build networks to know who to get in contact with.”
If you had a message for anyone who is just now starting their major and is in the same major as you, what will it be?
“Focus on your work, ask questions, apply yourself, make sure you take time to take a break. Self care is so important. Get to know the people in your major not just your professors, but your classmates so they can help you out. Do not procrastinate especially when you are in so many different clubs. It will become a lot if you let it.”