It IS Rocket Science: Annie Borland, Cal Poly Aerospace Engineer

Name: Annie Borland

Year: 2nd

Major: Aerospace Engineering

Annie Borland is a second year aerospace engineer from Tumwater, Washington. While she speaks fluent German, she also knows how to cook a mean salmon dinner. When she's not working her booty off doing school work in the library because she's made Dean’s List four times and is a student in the honors college, she can be seen playing frisbee on the IM fields with the women's ultimate frisbee club. She's an active member of her panhellenic sorority and works with CPINTERSEP building a space satellite on her Saturday mornings. I talked to her about how she manages to pull all of this off and succeed with flying colors as one of the only women in her major here at this extremely competetive Polytechnic University. 

HCCP: How do you see yourself and your major here at Cal Poly?

AB: I think that college is about the entire experience, and not just school. A lot of people in my major just STUDY. I know I have the rest of my life to work.

HCCP: How do you feel about being in a major that is dominantly male, since there are only nine girls total in your year?

AB: It doesn't bother me because I've accepted it, and it’s how it's been my whole life. I knew that’s how it was going to be from the start and I’m a total tomboy anyway. I had always enjoyed sports like touch football and hated girly things.

HCCP: How do you spend your free time?

AB: I try to do Intramural sports when I can! I am in the CPINTERSEP organization and play club frisbee. I also just joined a sorority this past winter!

HCCP: How do you handle so many extra curriculars with your challenging classes?

AB: I'm taking less units per quarter so that I can have a better college experience and get better grades. With my major, in retrospect, money isn't going to be as much of an issue as it could be with other potential jobs, so I know that once I do have a job, I'll be able to pay off my debt. However, I don't want to be tied down right now. I feel like once you get a job, you can be tied down in one place. I want to travel after college. I would love to work in Europe at least for a few years as well.

HCCP: What made you decide to come to Cal Poly?

AB: Growing up in Washington, I hated the rain so much. I was looking at schools only in California because I didn't want to leave the West Coast. Cal Poly was really the only school that had a distinct aerospace program, so it became my number one choice.

HCCP: You were raised in a household with just your mom and your sister; tell me about your family.

AB: My mom was definitely a tomboy as well when she was younger. My mom is my hero—she's amazing. My sister and I weren't as close until college. I guess distance does make the heart grow fonder. We're very close to my family in Germany and visit them every summer. I think I like to travel because I've always been so exposed to traveling and different cultures. It's eye opening to see different parts of the world. My mom still only speaks German to me.

I ask Annie what she wants to do after graduation, and she tells me with a chuckle that when she grows up she wants to be a "rocket scientist," of course. She then adds that in all seriousness she knows she hasn't gotten far enough into her curriculum yet to discover exactly what she wants to work with or for what company, but that she's looking forward to it.  Annie is already making progress and is a great role model for young women who desire to go into the field of STEM as she prepares to intern with Space Systems Loral in the Bay Area this upcoming Summer. Look out for her someday working on the Mars missions, or being the next CEO of SpaceX (or both!).