Jackie Olwell: Engineering the Future

Name: Jackie Olwell


Year: 2016


School: SEAS


Major: Operations Research


Hometown: Old Bridge, NJ


Favorite TV show: The Office


Best study snack: I am addicted to popcorn.


What are you apart of on/off campus?

I am the President of the Society of Women Engineers, a member of a sorority, and a tour guide as part of the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee.  This semester, I’m also interning at JP Morgan in credit risk.


What's it like being a female engineer?

Columbia Engineering is great in that it is about 40% female, which is way higher than the national average.  But it’s not 50% yet.  That’s why SWE has been so important to me over my four years here.  It’s really a great community of female engineers.  I’ve met upperclassmen who have helped me pick my classes and given me job/internship/life advice, and I’ve met underclassmen who I hope can say the same about me.  It’s always great walking into class and seeing someone I know through SWE, and I’ve honestly met some of my best friends through it.

Why did you decide to do engineering?

In high school, I’d always found myself to be better at math and science than the humanities, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to pursue engineering. It was actually on my campus tour of Columbia that I found out about Operations Research, when my tour guide explained it to me.  OR is essentially the the use of math and computer science concepts to make processes better and more efficient.  It appealed to me because it not only seemed practical and useful in the real world, but also was very interesting to me and would allow me to keep pursuing math and science at the college level.


What are you doing after you graduate?

I just signed a full-time offer for an Associate role at the Boston Consulting Group in New York City! I’m excited to be staying in the city next year.


What would you advice would you give your freshman self?

A lot. I think that the biggest piece of advice I would give myself is to do what makes you happy without worrying about what other people will think.  If something makes you happy, do it.You have to be your own biggest advocate.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Be less stressed because everything will always work itself out.




So you were featured in the Ivy League Snapchat Story, what's the snapchat celeb life like?

I was!! The snapchat celeb life has been overwhelming.  Honestly though, I was headed to work one morning and thought the view waiting for the elevator in EC (I’m on floor 20!) was beautiful, so I took the picture and sent it in.  I had never sent anything in before, so I didn’t know how it worked. I was actually watching the story myself when I noticed my snap had made it.  It got viewed over 20,000 times which is cool.