Sarah Anne Livingston didn’t simply ace her engineering courses. She additionally engineered
As a girl finding out to work within the male-dominated subject of mechanical engineering,
Livingston discovered early that self-doubt would generally be an additional variable. However
she’s by no means been one to again down from an issue. It’s what first sparked her curiosity
within the STEM subject, finally opening the door to engineering.
“I really began as a math main,” she says. “I knew that I appreciated calculus and
physics. However after speaking to my highschool physics instructor, she made me understand
that mechanical engineering is mainly simply utilized math and physics. It was a means
that I may take my ardour for math and do one thing with extra functions.”
She wasted no time discovering what these functions regarded like, racking up a whopping
six internships with three totally different firms whereas at USC, and she or he plotted her course
with tactical precision.
Working example: When COVID quickly compelled courses on-line, she took a break from
faculty to achieve work expertise at BMW manufacturing in Greer, South Carolina, efficiently
redirecting her efforts with out shedding momentum.
“On-line courses had been simply not one of the best ways for me to be taught, in order that’s once I determined
that possibly throughout this era I may I take a break from courses and do a co-op as a substitute,
get some work expertise, after which come again each time courses are regular once more,” she
Selection was the secret. She selected internships that would train her one thing
new about engineering — and about herself.
A place with a small engineering consulting agency in Cayce confirmed her how she may
assist convey business developments to life. Her first stint with Worldwide Paper
in Georgetown, South Carolina, allowed her to dip her toes into the world of chemical
And her most difficult place, a co-op at BMW Manufacturing in Greer, South Carolina,
taught her talk throughout all ranges of a corporation to finish a undertaking.
“That was the primary time that I actually type of felt validated in myself,” she says.
“I had had validation from different folks prior to now, however that was the primary time that
I checked out myself and mentioned, ‘OK, I’m succesful, and I can do no matter I set my thoughts
Selecting USC was a no brainer given her household’s historical past. Her dad and mom met on the college,
and her grandparents too; her grandfather performed for the soccer group and her grandmother
was a cheerleader. However greater than that, she was impressed with all the things the college
needed to provide aspiring engineers seeking to discover the trade and community with likeminded
Take for instance Theta Tau, the college’s co-ed engineering fraternity, which gave
Livingston the boldness to pursue so many internships. Members host annual outreach
actions like Fall into Science and the Residing Science Museum, occasions that introduce
kids to engineering by means of enjoyable experiments.
“On prime of that, there’s additionally similar to day-to-day bonding occasions — pizza nights,
film nights, paint by numbers, that sort of stuff,” she says. “Theta Tau has actually
given me an awesome group that I have been in a position to bond with a lot. But it surely’s additionally
a group that has let me present my ardour and likewise unfold that zeal to others.”
Girls make up simply 9 % of the mechanical engineering workforce, in keeping with
the U.S. Census Bureau. They account for under 15 % of engineers worldwide.
Being the one lady could be intimidating. Livingston has skilled it firsthand.
Folks generally have a look at her in another way or assume she wants simpler assignments than
her male counterparts. However as a substitute of deterring her, these experiences inspire her
to show them fallacious.
“I do know there are many folks like me who is perhaps terrified to return into an
internship understanding that generally you simply go searching and also you’re the one feminine
within the room,” she says. “I need to be inspiring to folks and assist them understand we’re
simply as succesful as anyone else.”