It has been a few years since the thought of college applications crossed my mind. Instead, I’m thinking more about potential job opportunities and graduate school. However, as I enter my senior year and I reflect on my last few years in college, I find myself incredibly happy that I chose to come to Missouri S&T. However, I never came here for engineering and I was faced with the daunting fact that I was going to be the small population of females at the university. I worried that I would be looked down upon for not being a STEM major. While no one looked down on me, I was questioned a lot upon my arrival at Missouri S&T about my decision to attend a leading university in engineering and technology. I had teachers and fellow high school classmates confused at my decision and I noticed the same trend in my engineering inclined friends in college. However, I always felt like I belonged here. These same peers were similar to the ones I hung out with in orchestra and Advanced Placement classes in high school. There were little personality differences and that was comforting.
I chose Missouri S&T knowing that I would have opportunities that I would not have at a larger, liberal arts college. While in high school, I was not sure what I wanted to do in college, but I knew I wanted to be a leader. Throughout my first semester on campus, I learned from my sorority sisters, friends in other organizations, and information sessions, just how many chances I had to make my mark on a campus of over 8,000 students.
I came to S&T to study Business and Information Science & Technology. In a few words: how to manage people and make their networks secure. I’ve always been a people person and wanted to take the lead so this major was 100 percent right for me. So why did I choose an engineering school? This school may pride itself on having thousands of alumni who work for top notch engineering firms, but this university has much more to offer. We have many other nationally ranked degree programs that showcase how diverse our university is. The university also has endless opportunities for women to get involved. With over 200 organizations, 10 plus design teams, Greek life, and Intramural sports, you will definitely find your place at S&T. I interviewed women currently attending the university to gain more feedback about other women’s experiences while attending Missouri S&T.
Why did you choose Missouri S&T over other universities?
There are many reasons that females choose to come to S&T, take a look for yourself!
“I chose S&T because of the smaller campus size and class sizes compared to other universities I looked at. Another reason I chose S&T was the distance from home. I'm from the middle of Kansas so it was far enough to allow me to be independent from my parents, but close enough it would allow me to easily go home a few times a semester.”-Cassie Golden, Biological Sciences
“I chose to go to S&T because I participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition in High School and at competitions you can talk to college recruiters. The people at S&T seemed so friendly and eager to answer my questions. I signed up for a campus tour and the rest is history. After four years, I still stand by my decision to come to S&T because it has been the best years of my life.”- Jozi Brennan, Engineering Management
“I chose S&T for the mining program. It's one of the best in the country and has an experimental mine very close to campus.”- Meena Lahiri, Mining Engineering
“I chose this school because it just felt like home. Compared to the other schools I looked at, S&T had the smaller, community setting and felt more welcoming, and l didn't feel like I would be just another student passing through. The administration seemed to really want to reach out and make S&T the place I wanted to be.”- Kristen Grace, Engineering Management
What opportunity (specifically for women) did you find at S&T?
There are numerous ways to get involved if you’re a female on campus. We have the Student Diversity, Outreach, and Women’s Programs department on campus. There’s Greek Life, women’s events to attend, our Women’s Christian Campus Housing, Society of Women Engineers and so much more. Don’t let the fear of being a female on this campus deter you from attending a prestigious university.
“I would definitely say Greek Life changed me. S&T's Panhellenic Council is one of the strongest I've ever seen, and the sisterhood both in the individual houses and between all of Greek Life really gave me a family in Rolla. When I went Greek, Rolla became my home as opposed to just school.”- Kristen Grace, Engineering Management
“Unlike a lot of my friends, I decided pretty early on that Greek Life wasn't for me, and that's okay! Instead, I found a family in other places on campus, most notably my design team. Spending hundreds of hours on a project has placed me into an incredibly fast paced and innovative learning environment. I have found myself as a team member and as a leader, gotten opportunities to travel, and met people from all sorts of places! Besides all of those things, I have built a pretty awesome resume too.”- Alyssa McCarthy, Business & Information Science and Technology
“I found that there are many clubs that you can get involved in and many just for women. Many of them that are equal opportunity clubs that are great.”- Tori Mares, Information Science and Technology
“I joined a sorority. While it seems like the cheesy thing to say, my sorority became my home. I met some of my best friends in my sorority or from other sororities on our campus. I know that they have my back and are always there for me. It also helped me branch out and network with our many alumni who are all strong women in STEM. Going Greek was the greatest opportunity that I am glad I took.”- Jozi Brennan, Engineering Management
Why should a female student attend S&T and what advice do you have?
When I was getting ready to attend the university, I asked a friend who went here advice about college overall and S&T life. No matter what university you decide to attend, make sure to reach out to people you know attending to gauge the campus lifestyle.
“I find myself doing things that I would have never done. S&T is helping women pave the way into being stronger, independent women in STEM fields and it's an experience that won't be forgotten. No matter what you major in or where you go to school, try to find the balance from school, to work, to social life.”- Erica Dixon, Nuclear Engineering
“Girls should come to S&T if they love math, science and engineering. S&T is an amazing STEM school and girls should follow their ambitions. Try your best and don't be ashamed of failure. Failure is a part of life and the only way to succeed is to learn from your mistakes and move forward.”- Meena Lahiri, Mining Engineering
“Missouri S&T is a great place for academics and gaining knowledge, but it is also a great place to find yourself. There are so many different organizations to get involved in. If you're interested in Greek Life, there are three Panhellenic, two Greek Independent Board, and one National Pan-Hellenic Council sororities to choose from. Female students will be able to find the one social sorority that best fits them and then be able to interact and create relationships with those in the other sororities. My advice to them would be to make sure to get out there. Go to Minerama. Go to informationals. Go to the many activities around campus. You never know who you could meet.”- Cassie Golden, Biological Sciences
“A female student should choose S&T because the community is really great. I never feel judged for being who I am or for being a female engineer. I am treated the same as any of my peers and that is really great. I may be one of the very few females in the ECE field, but I never feel that way when I attend classes or am in groups. The whole campus is really inclusive in my experience. My advice would be to find where you belong and feel the most at home. Tour a lot of campuses, try out different majors and find out all about any club that holds a remote interest for you. Don't choose a campus, Greek house, club, or major just because it's what your parents want or because it's expected of you. College is a time to find out who you really are and who you want to be. Go find yourself.”- Becca Miller, Electrical Engineering & Computer Engineering
S&T has a campus culture, unlike most universities. When we say you can truly be yourself on this campus, we mean it. I’ve never felt like I was being someone else while I’ve been here. I’ve found my niche and my friends. It came with work, though. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you in your residential hall all year long. Take risks. Get out there. Embrace the collegiate experience while you can. Missouri S&T will challenge you, but you need to live up to that challenge and not be afraid if you get bad grades or if you don’t find your place automatically. Some things take time and the transition into college is no exception.