Student Spotlight: Gabby Whitis
Gabby Whitis is a senior studying computer engineering. Outside the classroom she is a Purdue ECE Ambassador and is involved in Purdue’s Women in Engineering program. If you are a student or know a student that wants to be featured, please send an email!
What inspired you to major in computer engineering?
I was inspired to major in computer engineering after taking a web design class when I was a sophomore in high school. I was drawn to the aspect of trying to think like a computer and learning these new languages that can interact with technology on a new level.
What do you like about being a student in Purdue ECE?
I love being a student in Purdue ECE because I’ve found a community of friends who make it feel like home. Everyone from the advisors to the professors have been extremely supportive and encouraging! Although studying ECE has been one of the biggest challenges in my life it has also been one of the most rewarding and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support network I’ve created along the way.
Did you have a mentor that encouraged and provided advice while you were deciding what to major in or in your time here at Purdue? How did that person help you?
I didn’t find one single person who was able to help me figure out what I wanted to major in. Instead I talked to multiple people in different fields about what their studies and careers were like. From there I was able to narrow down the things I was interested in and figure out how to start working towards that path. To do this I recommend attending things like T2M talks and staying after to talk to the presenters so you can ask your questions 1 on 1 and receive personalized answers. I promise people love to talk about their work! You’ll find out very quickly if you also love their work!
Do you have a mentor that encourages and provides advice while you are working on your degree? How does that person help you?
My momma is the biggest support I will ever have in life. She has spent countless hours picking me back up after I’ve faced discouraging exam scores or challenging projects. She even remembers to humble me when I’m getting too big for my britches. It’s important to find family, friends, or some kind of support system who you can turn to at your highest or lowest. No one gets through Purdue ECE alone!
Do you see mentoring female FYE or ECE students as an important thing? How do you provide support/guidance?
I think mentoring students is extremely helpful! I’m a Women in Engineering mentor and I meet with two awesome FYE girls who I’ve been able to help with everything from creating schedules to figuring out where the women’s restrooms are in the EE building. As an ECE Ambassador I also have the opportunity to talk to students already in ECE and provide advice on things like which electives to definitely take and which might have you sleeping in a lab after ripping up your breadboard for the 6th time. To new students I’d say: look for advising opportunities everywhere! Peers, industry professionals, professors, etc. are all great resources!
What advice do you have for young women either considering going into electrical and computer engineering, or in the process of getting their degree(s)?
My biggest piece of advice for anyone going into engineering is: don’t listen to every piece of advice you’re given. Not everything everyone recommends will work for you. Figure out what does and adopt it. Ignore the rest. This goes hand in hand with not comparing your success to the success of others. Everyone’s path is different. Focus on your own! Your own success and attitude is the only thing you have any control over.