Published: May 2, 2022 By

Graduating senior and BOLD Scholar Joelle Westcott (CivEngr'22) has been recognized by the College of Engineering with a Global Engagement Award and a Research Award for her engineering photography and research projects.

What is your major? What interested you in that major?

My major is Civil Engineering with an emphasis in geotechnical engineering and a minor in global engineering. I chose to study civil engineering because I felt that it was a field in which I could make a tangible and positive impact on society in general and particularly on people who have been previously disadvantaged. Various case studies show the importance of ethical and thoughtful engineering and it was something I couldn’t wait to be a part of. 

Were you involved in any BOLD student societies, if so what was the experience like?

I was involved in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and I really enjoyed my experiences as a member of SWE. Through the society, I was able to meet a range of people who identified as women or allies and I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them! 

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend the SWE Local conference in my first year and the SWE national conference in my fourth year. Attending these conferences was really inspiring and it also gave me the confidence and perspective that having perfect test scores is not all that important in the grand scheme of things. 

How did it feel to be recognized for the work that you’ve done?

Being recognized for the work I have done feels amazing because I feel like it honors my innate curiosity, drive, commitment, and passion for engineering. I am truly honored and grateful. 

What is the most important lesson you learned as an engineering student?

I think the most important lesson I have learned is that you must be an active learner. It is critical to ask questions, engage with the material, and truly understand the concepts. 

You can gain an immense amount of experience and even learn about new opportunities by asking questions.  

What was a struggle you went through as an engineering student? What helped you persist?

Throughout engineering school, I struggled through tough courses. Sometimes it seemed that no matter how hard I tried and no matter how many office hours I attended, I just couldn't wrap my head around certain concepts. 

Throughout my engineering career, I had various mentors that told me to just keep pushing and to learn as much as I could along the way. Eventually, with time, this mindset helped me continue to learn and grow which really helped me eventually overcome the challenge of certain courses.  

Additionally, my countless peers also helped me persist by always being willing to discuss concepts or homework. 

What’s next? 

After I graduate with my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a Global Engineering minor, I will complete the rest of my Master’s of Science in Geotechnical Engineering where I will be following the thesis track. 

Following that, I will begin working at the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL) at the Department of Defense’s Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC). 

As far as an end goal, I am not exactly sure yet but I do know that I want to work on challenging projects that truly make a difference while finding a balance between working with my hands and also critically thinking about problems that require me to apply my engineering skills.