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Katherine Hixson

My name is Katherine Hixson. Currently, I am a second-year student pursuing Aerospace Engineering. I graduated with the IB diploma from Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Florida in the year 2023 and started college during the fall semester that year. One of the classes I enjoyed the most so far are Tim Kotnour’s Leadership in Engineering II course. Even if it was a non-credit course, the lessons learned from developing a business case and hearing guest speaker advice were worth the time. Calculus II with Lori Dunlap-Pyle had also been one of my favorite classes, despite the perceived difficulty of the course. In my opinion, Pyle provided very helpful examples and explanations to complex concepts and has helped me to excel in math thus far. She even took time to post thoroughly written solutions and videos detailing her process in solving complicated exercises.

As a former mentee of the WiSTEM program, I know about the benefits and advantages of participating the program provides, especially for young women. I wish to support other women in their journeys to pursue STEM disciplines in any way I can, either by encouraging them to join STEM-related student organizations or participate with them in professional workshops or networking events. I believe that everyone in the program creates a very supportive environment and allows peers with related interests to build strong, lasting connections.

Some of my pastimes include traveling, undertaking outdoor excursions, writing in a journal, learning about cars, and healthy cooking. My pastimes carry over into my words of advice for my mentees to never feel ashamed or discouraged from practicing particular hobbies or interests on the basis of gender or lack of relevancy to a career path. Time spent outside of work and course assignments in rather entertaining and fulfilling activities will prevent burnout. My other words of advice also are to surround yourself with peers who are driven and have similar career interests. You can view your peers both as a resource to help you succeed and as social companions.