Yesterday I had the chance to visit with students who are considering attending Marquette University - 1000 miles away from their families - just as I was back in 2007- 2008. I was thrilled to find out 75% of them were going for engineering!
Making the choice to "go away to college" is difficult for a 17, 18, 19 year old to make. Choosing to go 1,000 miles away in a town or city or state you've never been to a complete gamble.
I can't tell you how scared I was. It was a major mix of emotions from choosing to give up my chance to play college softball, to being away from my mama, not seeing or being around for my brother & sister, not knowing ANYONE remotely near Milwaukee, but also pure excitement for an adventure to learn, grow, find my calling and who I could be.
Marquette did all that AND more. Not only did it help me escape the racism and politics in South Texas but it opened my eyes to the possibility of what a real, loving, accepting, open-minded community could be. Granted, there will always be politics, there will always be kakaheads determined to be mean, ugly, or rude. But when the vast majority of people genuinely wanted to know WHO I was, what my goals & aspirations were in life, what I enjoyed doing with my time INSTEAD of what I was - I was floored.
I share all this because attending Marquette was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Taking a chance on myself in one of the scariest and most unknown, unpredictable situations I've ever been in - it paid dividends! Neale Donald Walsch says "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone". Ironically enough, he's from Milwaukee :)
It was a blessing to be encouraged and supported by my Mama. Her love and pure belief in me gave me more strength than I could have ever imagined I had inside me. Our experiences make us who we are. Taking risks, investing in ourselves, & "just doing this for me" decisions are necessary. Don't shy away. Take them head on!
Put your boots in the air like ya just don't care.
There are all kinds of articles and tips and tricks and philosophies on tricking your mind into NOT looking forward to Friday and hating Sundays - I get that. You should wake up EVERYDAY excited to be alive - enjoy the work you do - blah blah. I'm here for all that.
But to be honest - if any of you have been watching my stories - I'm straight up EXHAUSTED. like BEAT. It's been rough yall!!! No joke.
I love my job but holy hell, these last 4 weeks have destroyed me. Mentally draining doesn't even begin to describe. Granted, I whine about it every time I realize how much I'm torturing myself but I've also made it a point to raise a few red flags around the office (up a few rings of my management chain). I'm dedicated & hardworking but I'm still human and my tank is dang near on empty.
As much as I want to give more and stay late and pour out my heart & soul into giving back & my passions & working out... there's only so much Brianne to go around. I'm not an endless source of energy even though I tell myself to "push through" sometimes.
Learning how to slow down. Take time to just chill or put my legs up against a wall bc my feet, knees, and back hurt so bad I can't just lay flat on the ground - I need to do that. You need to do that. It's normal. It's okay. We need to rest. There's alot of self-management we've all gotta learn and it takes time. It takes practice. This is certainly something I've been raising awareness for myself & keeping tabs on what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, & whether or not I think I can keep up the current rate at which I'm functioning.
Be sure to audit yourself. What are the things draining you? When was the last time you actually recharged? unplugged from the world & did something strictly for yourself? was it something "by the book" or something random like laying sprawled out on your living room floor? 😏
Sometimes I feel like a broken record but I can't seem to quite find the words to express the pure passion & excitement I have for how a career in engineering - manufacturing in particular - changes the way you view the world - society - life. This quote did it for me.
It's a major mindset shift.
My job - specifically - is to see the bigger picture. My role as an Advanced Manufacturing Engineer is to tie the two worlds of design and production together. I'm smack in the middle of new product development - all the innovative, new, fun, cool concepts - and manufacturing - the hundreds of people and processes that are a well oiled-machine [pun intended] that continue to improve internally [robots, six-sigma, controlled systems] itself to then collide. It's a cadence. I have to be in sync with multiple groups with multiple programs with numerous projects and I have to know how to best support and understand my coworkers in their separate areas.
Yes, my job is to push for excellence. I'm sure that can be annoying and frustrating to some who just want to do their job and that be that. I'm always the idea creator. The "what if" addition-maker. I'm incredibly grateful my freshmen year at Marquette Introduction to Engineering class had us consider just that. My job isn't to always be front & center but it is to lead the implementation of change and that's where my problem solving skills truly show themselves.
I have no real authority over all the various departments I work with but I have to have some kind of influence. Together we have to push our product, processes, and personnel to the next level.
It's an honor to see final assemblies. Sometimes it's a physical tangible product and sometimes it's celebrating a success with a multi-faceted, cross-functional team.
I've been involved with Engineers Week since my college years - I served on panels, did school visits, career day events. In the end, I was simply sharing my experience as an engineering student. Why I chose engineering, what I was learning, what my plans were, the career path opportunities I had in pursuing engineering and how I making that dream a reality! Of course, there was always interest in how I even came to know Engineering which of course, I credit 150% to my mom. When I had a catalog of electives after moving out of Texas my freshmen year in High School, I was really hoping to sign up for shop - woods or auto but she advised me to take drafting. My life would change forever. [But I do plan on signing myself up for some woodwork or auto classes here in the near future]
As a professional, I continued on this effort to share and be a resource for engineering industries by sharing the different roles I had, what I did day-to-day in those different jobs, highlighted the different industries I have worked in: military defense, pressure vessel design, aerospace manufacturing, starting my own engineering consulting firm, and now working in automotive manufacturing. I even get to nerd out and share about OTHER disciplines of engineering and how they're all making an impact in our society, environments, and creating a new way of living [more on that in another post]. For the younger kids, I've seen great success in aligning the different disciplines with SUPERHEROES! Electrical = Storm, Mechanical = Iron Man, Chemical = Dexter's Lab, Nuclear = Hulk, on & on!
No words can express the excitement and "AWE COOL!" exclamations I hear when I share the cutting edge technology or even how if they go into civil engineering - they'll get play Minecraft for a living with REAL money, REAL resources, REAL land, & impact the lives of millions! Kids really just need it spelled out for them. They need to see how math and science aren't just concepts they'll "never use again". Problem-Solving is a skill set we all need as adult humans but if you sharpen up those skills, you can be front and center in a workforce with most fun, exciting, BEST paying jobs growing exponentially! They need to hear that, they need to see it, and they need to understand how they will be and ARE responsible for our future.
As I could go on for hours about the importance of how and why we need to educate our little ones about STEM education, career paths, and all the cool things they can accomplish in pursuing STEM - let's dive into the different ways you can get involved.
1. Community Centers
Most of the time they already have events happening, check out what they have going on and how you can help. Check out similar resources like the YMCA, a local Boys & Girls Club, or Girls Inc.
Since there's already a greater cause at work and usually a force of people running the structure, nonprofits tend to already have programming set in place and are simply needing volunteers to execute their programs. Some of my favorites are: SHPE, NSBE, SWE, ASCE, ASME, IEEE, Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering [TAME], Perot Museum!
3. School Visits
Career Days, Mentor during after school programs, just get in there! Representation Matters!
Normally this does require a background check, you'd have to express why you're planning on going and what you hope to achieve in attending. Google your local schools, reach out to a principle, counselor, or STEM director for school districts expressing your interest to visit!
4. Boy & Girl Scouts
Find a local council! My favorite is getting involved with Girl Scouts & their STEM initiatives! Especially locally here in Dallas, Texas with the amazing new STEM Center of Excellence. I was even honored enough to initiate and develop a partnership with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers [SHPE] DFW chapter!
For reference, here are some of my favorite Engineering activities:
Let me know how you plan on getting involved!
Have you participated in Engineers Week in previous years?
It's meant the world to me to be able to open up & share my life experiences online.
With so much chaos, the ease of overwhelment, it's a lot for one person to process.
Last week I shared a post on instagram about being intentional with filling my timeline with amazing women in Engineering. That in particular has helped with my own sense of self and as an engineer.
However, instead of my own personal gains - I want the opportunity to share.
What what I've learned. Share what other people have done. Just overall SHARE my network.
What a concept - right?!
From the wonderful, amazing, enlightened people I've had the pleasure of meeting - as MY OWN birthday present to the world - I'd like to introduce the People Engineer Network. My network is yours and we simply build a community around each other.
On the birthday, I'm launching my own YouTube series to answer many of questions I get constantly, advice I find myself repeating, and topics people tend to ask in the DMs but are ashamed or afraid to talk about in person.
In December I took on the challenge of vlogging & ended up having so much more in depth conversations in the DMs, I figured I might as well scale those back & dig into the weeds of the issues and bring those to light.
I've always felt like it was my duty to help people, that all my pain & suffering wouldn't go in vain if I could help someone through something similar.
So feel free to like, subscribe, share. Looking forward to kicking off the series this weekend!
LMK if there's anything you'd find helpful or needed or you'd like more information on pertaining to Life, Career, & Growth.
First and foremost, acknowledging there are toxic people in your life is heartbreaking.
I can remember every single time and every single person I realized wasn't good for me. It's like waking up one day and your favorite candy just doesn't taste the same. I know that may be odd but the comfort and safety and reassurance that this one thing (or person) that you could rely on all of a sudden changes.
Change is never easy to accept but making the choice to take ownership of your life, energy, surroundings, & circumstance takes a lot of gumption.
Yesterday, I was leading a workshop focused on goals and how to hold yourself accountable to reach those goals & the question came up "what if your friends or family give you a hard time? What if they don't support you & they make you feel bad about the change you're implementing - what if they just don't get it?”.
And the hard truth is - you have to make that choice. Are you willing to allow some external person or situation or environment run YOUR life or are you going to take ownership and swim upstream?
It's definitely easier said than done. I personally have INTENTIONALLY removed people in my life and it hurt - BAD. I made the decision that I COULD NOT and WOULD NOT allow myself to receive negative energy. I was NOT going to allow myself or my emotions to be toyed with. I needed consistency. I was depressed and anxious and felt like the world was telling me I was unworthy. I needed to surround myself with positivity. This meant I did an audit of my life. I would even tell my own mother "please do not tell me what I should be doing or how I can do better; that's not what I need right now.”
Yes I understood her intentions. Yes I knew she always wanted what was best for me but setting those healthy boundaries really allowed me to be kind and gracious and patient with myself.
Cutting out the need to be around the crowd, or always feeling like I was less than bc I wasn't a part of the 'cool kid' group gave me the opportunity to decide on who I wanted to be, what I wanted to bring to the world, and really make up my mind on what I valued in life.
Whether it be severing ties with a negative person, breaking off an unhealthy relationship, or checking a family member - you are in the control of what you allow yourself to take on. You choose what to expose yourself to and what to spend your energy on.
Be intentional with you who spend your time with. If you're around negative, gossipy, small-minded people, don't be surprised if you're always in a bad mood, can never find the good in people, or simply can't find happiness for yourself.
Rid yourself of toxic people in your life and see what wonders you'll bring to your peace of mind.
To all my ladies out there - how many of you actually take time to follow a skincare routine? [guys too for that matter]
I didn't even know this was a thing until about a year ago. I'd get all pumped about buying a new face wash or mask or a fancy little scrubber only to find myself only using them every now & then.
Learning to slow down & pay attention to the 'little things' has pointed out a lot. In my effort of decluttering, only doing & keeping the NECESSARY things in life, I noticed I was trying to step up my makeup game and any and all self-care/appearance hacks in general. Then it hit me.
How often was I really washing my face? Was I always focused on 'exfoliating'?
I caught myself always complaining or trying to find solutions to my oily skin.
So in a very engineering like fashion, I decided to do a root cause analysis:
Why was my skin oily? Was I cleaning it? Was it craving something I wasn't giving it? Hmmm. Moisture perhaps?
So like most 20-something year old ladies, I hopped on Pinterest & scrolled through TONS of "skin care routines" and found these infographics mentioning toners & moisturizers. Ha! Oops. I didn't even know those were needed. So every morning, I ensure I do all 3 - cleanse, toner, & moisturizer. My night routine still isn't the best but my 1 improvement is making sure I at least remove my makeup and cleanse.
#Selfcare is all the rage right now, as it should be but instead of going out of your way to do MAJOR changes like massages or retreats, find small improvements - like washing your face - & take care of what you DO have, immediate small wins, rather than trying to focusing on hiding or masking something you're not really investing in to begin with.
[calling myself out on this one…]
I found out about Jordan B. Peterson from an Aubrey Marcus podcast interview. I was beyond intrigued with his objective stance on human behavior especially as a clinical psychologist who took a deep dive into research focused on the worst possible outcome & how it could be avoided if we all simply took responsibility for ourselves.
Interesting. I was raised & still believe that "everything in life is a choice".
I live by that (to the best of my abilities).
To say that I was curious about the controversy surrounding Peterson would be an understatement. But rather than make assumptions & having a hidden agenda of trying to find a way to "catch" the man saying something sexist (or anything else he's being accused of)- I decided to hear him out.
I wanted to read what insight he could provide & boy did he deliver. (first & foremost, if you actually read the book - he thinks any "right" or "left" on anything
is wrong & I found him quite amusing, entertaining, & educational).
To be open to learning, is to be mature. Wisdom is truly acknowledging "the more you know, the more you realize you don't know".
So here are the 12 Rules and how they spoke to me:
1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back
Simply pulling your shoulders back and lifting your head gives you a boost of confidence,
increases your oxygen intake, and in a metaphorical aspect - just means - have a spine.
Stand up for yourself. Take risks. Believe in yourself and your ability to learn, fail, and grow
to not be ashamed of who you are and what you're capable of.
2. Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for
How often do we tend to our own PERSONAL needs? Neglecting ourselves in an effort to give more to others tends to be a oxymoron. I love how straight forward and relatable this chapter is. I caught myself laughing in guilt as if I was found with my hand in the cookie jar. Furthermore, the "Chaos and Order" section really had me - perception.
3. Make friends with people who want the best for you
Boy did that strike home. Like most young people growing up, I wanted to be accepted and a part of the "cool kid" club. However, the majority of the "cool kids" I grew up around were not very intelligent; they'd get in trouble and be judgmental and most of the time they were rude and ugly to the rest of us 'peasants'.
Nowadays, I find myself not really belonging to a 'group of friends' for those exact same reasons. My friends of spread out all over the world but they help me grow, they challenge me, they're good hearted people trying to make a difference in the world. Rule 3 is a great summation of facing the truth of "you are who you hang out with".
4. Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today.
The internal critic. We all have one. Acknowledging its existence and purpose is the first step.
"You are discovering who you are, and what you want, and what you are willing to do.
You are finding the solutions to your particular problems and have to be tailored to you,
personally and precisely."
Boom. Focus on what you have, what you're working on, rather than entertaining yourself with someone else's life. If you have time to focus on someone else for any comparison - you're either bored or looking for something in someone else you should be building for yourself.
5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
Oh THIS one!!! Parenting. Societal expectations. I can't tell you how many times I had to rewind my audiobook and even pull out a notepad to write some of these teachings down. I love how Dr. Peterson opened the chapter with an oh-too-familiar scene and immediately addresses the lack of parent problem solving. Like anything else, if you just let it fester and don't tend to the issue when it becomes an issue - it'll only get worse.
6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
Now as deep and dark as this chapter was - it was totally necessary. I tend to address 'emotional intelligence' and 'self-awareness' with young adults because so many of them have never heard of it before. They don't understand how normal it is to feel sad, mad, frustrated, irritated, or how they can healthily address these negative emotions internally and externally.
"Life is in truth very hard. Everyone is destined for pain and slated for destruction".
There it is. Truth. The hard truth, but once we're able to face it head on - call the beast by name, it no longer can have control of us. Take control back. Fight your own demons. Take responsibility for yourself and give it your all.
7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
Often times I find myself taking on small low-hanging fruit because they're quick easy wins rather than taking the time to sacrifice, put in work, be intentional, & only choose much bigger longer-time-to-fry fish I may doubt my cabaility of taking on.
8. Tell the truth - or, at least, don't lie
Be impeccable with your word. Your speech has power. Use it for good.
Rebuke chaos with what you have control over - your words.
9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't
Ha! This is something I personally JUST started making myself do this past year. Boy has it helped.
10. Be precise in your speech
This is common knowledge but NOT common practice - this I definitely need a lot of work on.
I'm a strong believer of 'say what you mean and mean what you say' but rarely do I have
a direct concise message myself. I'm working on that.
11. Do not bother children when they skateboarding
Oh baby! To all those people who constantly say I'm 'aggressive' and a 'b!tc#' - this chapter is for you.
Let me skateboard - fool!
12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street
Be grateful for what you have, when you have it.
You'll never know when you'll have that opportunity again or how many others
wish they could experience your small wins in the world.
Several chapters brought me to tears. Several paragraphs made me laugh.
I honestly would put this book in my top 5 to suggest to the entire world.
Happy New Year!
I seriously cannot believe it's 2019 already. Wow.
I've never been one to believe in the 'new year, new me'. If it takes the new year for your to evaluate who you & are what you're doing [or not doing] then by all means - more power to ya. But for me, I like the idea of waking everyday and making the choice of who I want to be that day, the day after, & the day after that. Sure, the new year helps remind us of a definitive milestone; gives us all a chance to relax with the holidays, celebrate wins & let go of the losses. But we shouldn't have to wait until New Year's for resolutions.
With a new year, certainly comes new goals. My focus this year is to be able to share my knowledge and objectives about my life, career, and personal & professional growth.
What are you working on this year?
I had just finished my sophomore year in college and
was entering my second internship. But this one was HUGE:
this summer I would be working for THE United States Army
as an Engineering Technician repairing helicopters down
in South Texas.
Backstory – I wanted to show how well rounded I was,
how confident I was in my skills and ability and willingness
to try new things – I included my last big achievement
on my resume. I was a contestant for the Miss Milwaukee pageant. I had never been in pageants, I was the ONLY STEM major in the pageant and the judges told me it was a very close call even through it was my first EVER and quite frankly I had no idea what I was doing.
Cheryl was from South Texas, went to school at USC to get her Aerospace Engineering degree – because – Rocket Science – and was co-lead on the project I would soon be supporting. We still laugh to this day how hard she rolled her eyes when she saw "Miss Milwaukee" on my resume but little did she know she'd be the MOST-LIKE-ME person I'd ever find in my life.
Long story short, we hit it off. She was fun, colorful, would wear pink bows in her hair and glittery eyeshadow. She was a boss when it came to anything technical & kept me under her wing so much I got family function invitations. Cheryl believed in me; supported me but she also pushed me. Our mentorship was so strong she would call me out on my ish – demand she expected better from me – and I'd rise to the occasion.
I could never put into words the gratitude I have for this amazing engineer – but also now one of my dearest friends. Taking the time to seek out mentorship and find someone willing to invest in me was the best decision I made that summer. We're still friends today and let me tell you – this amazing woman went to Law school, passed the bar, & had an internship of being one of the very few in the world dealing with technical military law.
Be conscious of the people around you. Find mentors & invest in that relationship. Reach out. Follow up. Be intentional with your time, questions, efforts, and goals. I’m lucky enough to have found a mentor who believed more in me that I did myself and helped me reach new heights of my own personal life, confidence, and career.