Oregon native Jamie Clark is one of the many students who establish their own niche in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering every year. A junior majoring in civil engineering, she is also a member of the Women in Engineering group, and she serves as an engineering ambassdor for the College. Every semester, she visits K-12 classrooms to let the curious and the ambitious know that there's a place for them in this demanding field. Here's what she has to say about her experience at Georgia Tech:
"After a year and a half at Tech, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything to help my community. Women in Engineering has provided a great outlet—it reminds me why I love engineering so much. It took me back to what got me interested in engineering in the first place.
As an ambassador, I’ve been to elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. The sooner you catch kids, the more they think about engineering as they grow older. The kids I met are so incredibly smart. I learn new things every time I go.
We make our presentations interactive—we use Prezi and do fun activities instead of just talking to the students. For example, we had kids make a rocket out of cups, straws, index cards, rubber bands, and other materials. They had to find a way to keep the two astronauts, which were actually marshmallows, inside the rocket, which was a small paper cup. That taught them about impact and other engineering principles.
In another activity, we gave the students a set number of uncooked spaghetti noodles and marshmallows and told them to build a structure that can hold weight. They had to make it as strong as possible. We tested the strength with card stock. Some did such a good job that their structures could actually hold magazines!
My plan after Tech is to go to graduate school, then get a Ph.D. I want to focus on sustainable building in developing countries, where they have limited resources. I feel there’s a huge need for that in the world. I want to figure out a way to use natural resources in those countries rather than bringing in materials that are not sustainable."