What was a highlight or favourite moment from your time at SFU?
Being a part of the MSE student society (MSESS) helped accelerate my growth as a person: personally, academically and professionally. I used to be extremely shy when I first entered university, but I did not want this to define me forever. So, I forced myself into uncomfortable positions and joined the MSESS as a first-year representative and later as VP Internal Relations, which allowed me to practice speaking in front of classes, meet new peers in my program, participate in fun and exciting engineering events and conferences, and help be a voice for my classmates. This experience left me with great memories during my time here at SFU and helped open up a career path for management I never even dreamed possible as a shy first-year student.
How has your experience at SFU prepared you for your career path?
The MSE program is a diverse and versatile field. For this exact same reason, it was difficult to decide a career path after graduation! The co-op program allowed me to explore multiple avenues of internships, giving me great insight into what I wanted to pursue. Purposely, I chose internships that were wildly different than the last to gain experience and to hone into what I liked and disliked, and what I could see myself potentially do after graduation!
What advice would you like to share to students in their first year?
I have truly learnt so much in my journey through higher education, but the lessons I learnt for my own mental health were paramount. Something I forgot for a while was that "education is a tool for greatness and not the definition of it” - nor is it the definition of you and your worth. Remember why you are truly learning something and that it is ok not to graduate in four years. Be kind to yourself and prioritize your mental health; put worth and effort into the person you are becoming! Also, don’t be afraid of failures. Failures along my career path truly outweighed the successes, yet each failure helped me learn more than any of my successes ever have or will. Finally, for women who doubt whether they should be in the field of STEM or not, I simply leave with you that you do belong - own it!
What are your current plans?
After finishing my courses, a difficult visa process and relocating to the United States, I am honored to say that I was welcomed back at Tesla as a full-time technical program manager for the vehicle software team! My duties include being a project and program manager for all firmware-affecting New Product Introductions affecting Models 3, Y, S and X in the Fremont Factory! I have become someone my younger self would be truly proud of and admire as a woman pursuing a career in STEM! I am grateful for this dream coming true everyday.
Read more about Rachel George here >>