Maria Podeta – California State University, Long Beach – Mechanical Engineering
My name is Maria Podeta. I go to Cal State
in L.A. and I’m a mechanical engineering major. Our research was on the Keystone Pipeline.
We’re trying to see and we’re trying to identify any safety issues. We’re trying to find a
way to make it safer as well as just trying to find any alternatives. Maybe there’s something
that’s better that they can do. So in California the
pipelines run like all over the place and they have to be safe. In our research we were
working on case studies and we are also looking at the environmental impact that the Keystone
Pipeline would have.
I wasn’t an engineering major at first. So when I was looking into something else,
engineering just fascinated me. It was like something that you can look into and continue
to grow in. So that was one of the reasons why and then I
got an internship at the Southern California Gas Company. That just interested me in the
transportation field. The reason why I chose mechanical is because
it’s such a broad category. You can do anything with it. And I like to keep my options open just in case I wasn’t sure at the moment. I thought mechanical
engineering would be a good fit for me. What was interesting about the internship was the
people there. They really helped me. They showed me so much. I’m working with the research
and development department. So I get to see a lot of the projects
they have. Seeing how everything gets put together is really interesting. How everything just comes down. Once I graduate with my degree I plan on working
for about a year or two and then going back and getting a masters in engineering.
So when I grew up I always thought I wanted to be a doctor.
I would just go back and tell myself you’re going to be an engineer. Don’t waste any time.
So there is this Society of Women Engineers. When I was part of the board, the people there really
helped me. It was a lot of fun during the time. It’s like a support group. They help you. You help people
and you get to do outreach to girls. We would go to schools
and we would try to teach students about STEM and they would be interested in it. That’s
really nice to see. My parents inspire me a lot. They’ve always
been there. When I changed my major they were always like helping me. They were always like just do what you have to do. They really pushed me. A lot of
the times I feel like I’m doing this for them more than for myself.