My interest in engineering started in childish defiance of wanting to prove to majority of the people I came across that girls can be engineers too, and pretty great ones at that! But thankfully it ended up being something I enjoyed immensely. My personality is more logical than emotional, so in school I found myself gravitating towards the Math and Physics subjects because of the structure in them. I enjoy that these subjects can help give the breakdown of why and how most things work. During my undergrad, I majored in civil engineering but got more interested in the geotecthnical/geological aspect of the discipline because of the encompassing nature of this subfield. I like the fact that it puts me in the heart of basically everything of the built environment since geological engineering deals with virtually everything that touches the earth! In my current role as a PhD candidate, I have been developing predictive models to isolate locations in the western US that are vulnerable to debris flows occurrences after wildfires. A recent model has been able to predict 8 out of 10 of these disastrous locations, which is a great improvement on the 4 out of 10 that an earlier model was predicting a couple years ago. This makes me so happy because it is a great step towards mitigating/ preventing the devastations usually associated with these events.
Throughout my academic career, I have been so lucky to have met so many wonderful people, especially my advisor, Dr. Oommen, who has been nothing short of supportive through all the highs and lows of this wringer of a grad school journey. He truly is amazing! I am also very thankful to the Graduate School for this award of Finishing Fellowship which is making it possible for me to fully concentrate on writing my dissertation and defending it without worrying about finances anymore. Medaase— this means “thank you” in my native language, Twi.