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Why I Love Living with Female Engineers

Let me tell you about my roommates: they know how to code, they know how to build, and they know how to dominate in a room full of men. They are female engineers and the most powerful women in STEM that I know. Every day they show their resilience and intelligence. They are going to help change the world just as they helped change me.

Now I am a journalism major, mainly because math is not my specialty. I struggled through calculus and failed my AP Physics exam. My roommates and I live paradoxical lives: I have classes on South campus (home to humanities courses and the journalism school), and they have classes on North campus (home to chemistry labs, math classrooms and all things that scare me). While I am writing essays, they are building prototypes and solving equations; but mostly, they are always working hard. In the face of adversity (such as organic chemistry), they thrive and, if they fall short, they accept the outcome, knowing that they tried their best. I take inspiration from the pride they put into their work. How they effortlessly show off their intelligence without bragging. How they never let any man tell them they have done something wrong.

There are not enough women in STEM fields, and sometimes I fear there never will be. It is a world monopolized by men that many women worry about entering. Only about one in seven engineers are female, but my roommates have not let this statistic scare them. They remain determined to dominate whatever field they choose whether it is creating devices to ensure there is clean water or working for a construction company. Their will to persevere with odds stacked against them inspires me in my everyday life. If someone “mansplains” in my discussion section, I will shut them down. My work ethic has improved just watching them study so hard and put so much effort into their labs. Most of all, I learned to be confident in myself!

My roommates have allowed me to see the importance in inspiring women to enter the STEM field or to simply motivate women not to be afraid to persevere through hardships. Four of my best friends are female engineers and, before meeting them, I did not know any women in the field. We need women like them to change the world for the better and to show that girls can do anything they set their minds to.

Emily Chaiet

Northwestern '20

Emily Chaiet is a senior from Fort Lauderdale, Florida studying journalism at Northwestern University. She is also pursuing a minor in sociology and a certificate in integrated marketing communications. In her free time she likes to rewatch the Office on Netflix and go to CycleBar. 
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