Stephanie Thrift: ISE Graduating Student Q&A

| May 3, 2021

Thrift has been involved with Engineers Without Borders, Women in Engineering and has worked with USC’s Center for Sustainability Solutions on plans to reduce USC’s carbon footprint.

Stephanie Thrift

Stephanie Thrift

Stephanie Thrift
San Diego, California
B.S. Industrial & Systems Engineering

What first inspired you to study engineering?

I’ve always loved the problem-solving mentality of engineering and the endless opportunities one could gain with that mindset. Combining that with Viterbi’s emphasis on Engineering+, I knew that engineering at USC would follow a holistic approach, thereby exposing me to the many paths I could take with my degree (both technical and non-technical)!

What was a highlight of your time at USC Viterbi?

Getting to go abroad to New Zealand the spring of my sophomore year!

Are there any extracurricular activities or organizations you have been part of during your studies?

Yes! During my first few years I was heavily involved in Engineers Without Borders, and I got to work on service-focused infrastructure projects in Guatemala, Kenya, and Bolivia. I even got to travel to Kenya the summer after my freshman year for a preliminary assessment trip for the project! I also am involved with Women in Engineering, where I’ve gotten to help build support systems to make Viterbi an equitable environment for everyone interested in STEM. Finally, since returning from my semester abroad in New Zealand I’ve served as Study Abroad Ambassador for Dornsife’s Office of Overseas Studies, where I’ve specifically focused on helping other engineering students navigate fitting a semester abroad into their Viterbi schedules!

Tell us about a project you took part in during your studies that made an impact on you.

In the past year and half I’ve become very involved in USC’s new Center for Sustainability Solutions, and I’ve been helping with an internal initiative to heavily reduce USC’s carbon footprint in the coming years. I’ve loved working on this project (1) because of its obviously important purpose and opportunity to make USC a leader in this space and (2) because it’s shown me how I can use engineering in an interdisciplinary manner to address issues important to me, even when they’re not explicitly technical.

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be sticking around one more semester (Fall 2021) to finish my PDP in Engineering Management! After that I plan on moving to Italy for six months as a break between finishing school and starting my career as a data engineering consultant for the firm I’m interning at this summer (to start in August 2022). Long term, I’d love to live/work in Europe full-time!

What is something you’ll miss most about USC?

My friends! I love you all so much!

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