Friday, October 30, 2015

#ILookLikeAnEngineer: Ryan Collins

Here's the next student in our #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign. Though this campaign began with a woman facing stereotypes in engineering, we wanted to emphasize that one does not need to be part of (or look the part of) a lesser-represented group in order to have experienced any biases. Furthermore, no requirement of a particular gender or race is necessary to show support for the campaign and to recognize that inequalities do exist within engineering. 

Meet Ryan Collins, a fourth year B.S./M.S. electrical engineering student at the Jacobs School of Engineering. 

Name: Ryan Collins
Major: Electrical Engineering
Estimated graduation date: BS ‘16, MS ‘17

Why did you choose engineering at UC San Diego?
I heard it was a great school academically. Besides that, the weather is perfect, there is sort of an underdog spirit that motivates me and the campus is beautiful.

What are your career goals?
I am obsessed with outer space, I would love an engineering career that involved space in some way. I would like to work with robotics as well, so maybe one day I will be helping to put rovers - or even people - on Mars.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
Luck favors the prepared.

What are three things you find unique about you?
I am a huge batman fan, I can rap the entire "The Real Slim Shady" song, and art is one of my hobbies.

What does this campaign mean to you?
In my experience, blatant discrimination towards others is a thing I rarely see, but that doesn’t mean discrimination isn’t happening.

The truth is that discrimination also comes in the form of subconscious bias, also referred to as "Colorblind Racism". That is the idea that between two otherwise equal people, you will give preference to the one whose race you subconsciously prefer or trust. Many people who believe themselves to be completely fair may not realize this, and it is important for them to analyze their behavior from an objective point of view to see if they are inadvertently discriminating.

I can say that there have been times where I noticed that I have been "lucky" when I was chosen for something, or that somebody trusted me more than they should have. I wonder if some of the reason has to do with my race.

You asked to place the frame underneath your face - why?
Since this campaign is to break free from stereotypes, I would put the frame below my face to represent the idea that we can break free from convention- it is to show that we should think outside the box and not just evaluate things at face value. The frame does serve an important point it shows that we are perceived by our physical image, and people DO see us for our race.

However, our character extends beyond our picture, just as our person extends beyond the frame.

Just a thought.

Keep up with us as we continue to feature students and stories! Remember to follow the Jacobs School on social media to stay updated with the hasthag!

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