Introducing Lisa Cervia
Welcome to the SWEet Wisdom column! I want to say hello and introduce myself. I am Lisa Cervia and I’ll be one of the two SWEet Wisdom reporters this year. I am currently a postdoctoral research scholar at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, pursuing cancer research.
I recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. I am very involved in the Biomedical Engineering Community and was the founding president of the Biomedical Engineering Society Graduate Section at Duke University.
I first joined the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) when I was a freshman at Boston University. Throughout the past 10 years, I have participated in many SWE outreach events and mentoring programs. I am now taking on more leadership roles in SWE and am an active member of the K-12 Outreach and Women in Academia Committees. I am excited to be sharing some advice from amazing engineers in SWE! This month, the question is “What you can do in high school to build engineering skills that will help you prepare for studying engineering in college?”
Bioengineering major and President of the George Mason University SWE Section
Take advantage of the classes that your high school has to offer, especially when it comes to Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Try to familiarize yourself with programs such as AutoCad, Inventor, and Matlab because many of your college classes will require you to work with these. It also doesn’t hurt to learn a computer programming language. Make sure you reach out to your advisors and guidance counselors about steps you can take to hone your skills. In the words of Walt Disney, always remember to “Keep moving forward”!
Program Manager at Navistar, B.S. Mechanical Engineering; President of the Chicago Regional SWE Section
Learn how to problem solve and work with teams. A large part of engineering is being able to sort through ambiguous issues, and knowing the right people to turn to for help. Any class can make you think like an engineer if you try! Think of your homework and projects as little engineering mountains you need to tackle. Break down the mountain into pieces, figure out how you can conquer each piece, and always try to learn more. We are all constantly evolving and have things to learn from others. Reach out, be curious, and ask questions.
Packaging Engineer Intern at Nefab; B.S. in Engineering Management
To prepare for majoring in engineering in college, my advice is to make a template of college classes you’ll be required to take your freshmen year of college (calculus, chemistry, physics, engineering electives, etc.) so you can start getting a feel for what will be seen in college. You can see how they compare to subjects you’ve taken/will take in high school. To see what the freshman curriculum is at a college you are interested in, just google something like “required freshman courses in engineering at (college you are interested in)”. Or try “course catalog” or “curriculum”. Different colleges might call it something different. Or just reach out to the SWE section at that college and ask them what courses are required for engineering freshmen. They’d be happy to help!