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One of the reasons I chose to attend USC Viterbi School of Engineering is its incredible 50% population of women in undergraduate engineering. Yet, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have the privilege of being in a class of only women.  

How Did I End Up in a Class of Five Women?

Well, I’m a Civil Engineering (Building Science) major. Civil Engineering (Building Science) is one of Viterbi’s emphasis programs, which are areas of specialization that a student can declare within their major. Some other examples include: Biomedical (Electrical), Chemical (Sustainable Energy), Civil (Structural), and Computer Science (Games). These programs give students opportunities to really concentrate on certain aspects/subsets of their major. As general engineering majors within Viterbi are already small, these emphases really narrow down in size. I happen to be lucky enough to belong to an emphasis program with all women. 

The Building Science program by itself is an incredible experience; in my three years of architectural engineering studios, I’ve gotten to construct a five foot tower of paper, build a sculpture into a tree in my backyard, and design a conceptual school for Armenians in San Diego (along with many more cool projects!). However, my experience in this program has been massively enriched by the female peers I’ve spent it with. 

Why I Love my Group of Gals

Spending at least 6 hours a week with the same group of 5 women as we tackle daunting projects is an incredibly bonding adventure, to say the least. I’m constantly inspired by the creativity, intelligence, talent, and resilience that these women display. The classroom environment that we have fostered is one of relentless support and admiration. Knowing that your classmates always have your back during some of the toughest weeks, and truly wish to see you succeed, is a game changing motivator. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish nearly as much as I have in my time at USC if it weren’t for their partnership and support.

The bond forged between us in our studio classes has naturally spilled over into our social lives, and I have made some of my greatest friends at USC thanks to this class. Every day I look forward to seeing my group of gals, whether it’s in the studio, in another one of our shared classes, or our weekly hangouts. Going into senior year, it’s hard to believe this is my last year with this amazing group of women. As I prepare myself to enter the workforce, let’s just say the standard for my future work environment (and its female representation) has been set very high. 

Shoutout to Natalie, Katherine, Lydia, and Chioma–I love you guys <3
Araxi Malazian