I have been asked many times over the last two and a half years what it means to have a major in Systems Science Engineering. Penn Engineering defines it as, “Systems engineering is not about specific technologies, but how to put heterogeneous technologies together to formulate solutions to complex problems.” If you ask me, that is just a confusing way to say that what we are really learning is how to think like an engineer. As I was exploring different majors I always knew that I wanted to study engineering but I didn’t know what precisely I would like to do as a career in the future. That is when I stumbled upon systems engineering. I learned that here was a major where I would not only be able to get a background in understanding how a system works, but I would also get to learn how to make them better.
Through my classes so far I have learned about optimization, circuits, and economics. I have studied how to be a project manager and how to evaluate risk in the environment. I have found that these classes have each taught me something different about how to think about problems and have changed my outlook on the world. I now stand in line at my favorite stores and wonder why it takes so long and what solutions I could implement to increase the flow of customers. Any time I am listening to the news and they state a risk, I now question if the material is credible or if the news is just playing on the public’s perception.
I still could not tell you what I want to be when I grow up; but, what I do know is that my Systems Engineering degree is going to give me the core skills to help me get there. This degree has redefined my ideas of the world and I cannot wait to see what new challenges my last few semesters will bring.
Jenna is a current M&T junior in the Class of 2014. She studies Systems Engineering within Penn Engineering and has yet to declare her concentration in the Wharton School. In addition to academics, Jenna is a member of the M&T Club Board and the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board. She is also involved with Wharton Women.