Hillary C.


As interviewed by Ireland C., April, 12, 2015

Hillary C.: In Her own Words

I was in Ocean Engineering and, there are main engineering classes, and then there are more specific ones for the majors. So in the main ones, Iíd say, there was probably, 20, maybe 20 percent were girls, those would be the big classes that had, probably 100, 200 students in it. In the more specific ones, I would say there was maybe, 2 or 3 percent girls, in the smaller classes.

It was more, it was more of a general lack of appreciation for our input. Whenever groups had to be formed, routinely, you know, women were the last chosen. Our input was not appreciated, nor valued. Frequently some of the male teachers would make, sexist jokes about women in engineering.

It was a long time ago, I just remember being alone in classes when we would have to form groups for projects, and there werenít very many girls, there would just be a handful of us. The boys tended to just, kinda circle up their chairs with each other, and the teacher would have to assign me to a group, because nobody wanted the girls in their group so much. That just happened frequently. Like I said, hearing the sexist jokes and remarks of, not necessarily the classmates, but the teachers, and telling us how much harder it was gonna be for us.

I just figured that they really didnít know. They werenít out in the workforce, and they didnít really understand, that times changed from when they were out in the workforce, because they were just teachers now. So, I would say it probably didnít change me from doing what I wanted to do, or going into what field I wanted to go into. I knew it was going to be tough, and I knew that my chances for getting a job, that I would be held to a higher standard, so that the employers would be requiring me to have better scholastic achievements, versus male counterparts.

Study groups were hard, but finding a study group was hard unless you could find one that already had women in it. But ultimately, I really didnít try to think about it too much, and I figured that if this was what I was going to do, I was just going to have to deal with it. It really just depended on the teacher, I mean some teachers were fine, and kind of the longer I stayed in engineering, the smaller classes, which were more specific, for the engineering career that I was focusing on, got easier because we got to know each other better as a group, so they were more accepting. But some teachers it just seemed like it didnít matter, this was just how they were going to treat women, by exclusion and joking.