Good Morning (or rather good afternoon for those of you aren't morning folk),
I wanted to talk to you about the importance of participating in an engineering mentorship program in school, be it through a club, a friend, or a sorority/fraternity.
It might be easier to start be telling you about my own experience. I had just entered UC Davis and joined SWE (Society of Women Engineers). For the rest of you female engineers out there, you know how nice it is to find girls in your major. How many times have you walked into a large 100+ person lecture hall and found that you can count the number of girls in the room on two hands. Needless to say I found SWE very welcoming.
That quarter I decided to participate in SWE's Big Sis Lil Sis program since I could barely find my classes, let alone discern which teachers were good or which offered research to undergrad's. This is also the quarter I met my "Big sis" Serena. Yes, I'm talking about my fellow blogger Serena. Serena showed me the ropes at Davis: which professors to avoid, which classes to take earlier rather than wait until I was an upperclassmen, how to get research, and a hoard of other useful things. She showed me the lab she worked at and helped me with my resume. To the little shy sixteen year old away from home for the first time, this was everything.
Serena and I are still close too. When I found out about my position with Autodesk she's the one who squealed (that's an awful word) with me over the phone. When I got the Autodesk promotion, a position in SWE, when my ad went live, she was there with me through it all. That's also how I met Carmen (another blogger on here), Serena's other mentee and one of my best friends.
Clicking the yes box for the mentorship program may have been one of the best decisions I ever made. I now assist Carmen in running the new Big Sis Lil Sis program with SWE and it's great to see younger students experience Davis this way and gain both mentorship and friendship from their senior engineering students.
I highly recommend all of you underclassmen (or even upperclassmen who are still figuring things out) to participate in a similar program. It has definitely made my experience at Davis memorable.