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Faith Silva

I am… a structural engineer in San Francisco, a karaoke lover, a DIY'er, a happy hour organizer, a K-12 STEM outreach volunteer, a woman who can deadlift over 300lb!

I chose Civil Engineering because… the built environment changes every day. There's always something new to learn.

I like my job because… I love the people with whom I work. 🙂

My typical day at work involves… structural modeling, figuring out why buildings collapsed, crunching numbers on paper, evaluating existing buildings for retrofit, learning the building code.

I want others to know… that it's important to balance work and play. It's a statement that's easy to believe, but very hard to live by. Go with your gut when you have to make a stressful decision between the two.

This is my story… I spent several years in community college (part-time) and working a retail job (full-time) before deciding what I wanted to study in school. When I chose engineering, I felt like I was "too old" or "not smart enough" to succeed. Luckily, I had peers at my community college's Math Engineering & Science Achievement (MESA) program and female mentors through my local chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Some of those peers became best friends with whom I could study with or vent to when I was stressed. My mentors helped me reduce my self-doubts and encouraged my academic pursuits. When I went to UC San Diego for undergrad, many of my MESA friends were there, and we continued to study and hang out together. I maintained close ties with SWE, including volunteering as a mentor. I ended up going to my grad dream school, UC Berkeley, with almost a full ride in scholarships. It felt like a dream, and it motivated me to work hard in grad school. I don't think I could have afforded to go to grad school otherwise. I'm telling this story because hopefully another person out there will read this who has had or is currently on the same path. You're not alone. The path to success is difficult, but it builds a resilience that an easy life will never give you.

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