“Quality teachers and educational supplies should be evenly dispersed throughout the country. Until this is a reality, it is up to the students to go back into the communities with poorer education systems and give them a boost!” – Tiffany Davis, USA
“Not a lot of people, especially black females, seriously aspire to be an aerospace engineer,” says Tiffany Davis. Indeed, growing statistics show that many girls are interested in STEM subjects like computer science and engineering – and they’re good at them – but hold themselves back. How can we change this? By changing perceptions, providing female role models, and, not least of all, by providing encouragement. This, Davis tells us, made the difference for her.
“My family in general is the support system that inspired me to pursue my dreams,” she says. “As soon as I expressed this interest to my family they were behind me 100 percent. My parents nurtured my interest by placing me in challenging schools and signing me up for engineering summer camps.”
And Davis is now a shining example of why STEM careers can be so empowering for women. Her skills, her drive, and her determination make her stand out — she is in demand, and she hasn’t even graduated yet. Just recently, The Boeing Company chose Davis for its highly competitive Engineering Accelerated Hiring Initiative (EAHI), an elite program that elevates the employment and internship options for 350 of the nation’s best undergraduate engineers. In November, Davis and other EAHI recruits will fly to Seattle, where Boeing’s top hiring managers will compete for their attention. Yes, this means that the EAHI recruits interview the hiring managers at Boeing…not the other way around.
Today, Davis shares how she intends to use her experience to encourage students to follow their own dreams, and how she sees technology playing a role in the classrooms of tomorrow.
What inspired you to become involved in education?
I have always been interested in education and giving back to the community through education. Since I was in middle school, I would spend some of my time tutoring. In college, I continued this tradition by working with a program called Black Kids Can Learn
(BKCL), in which Georgia Tech students tutor and mentor elementary school kids. In particular, seeing the dreams of young kids and their high aspirations inspires me to give back all that I can to help them achieve those dreams.
What has been your proudest moment so far during your work in education? Recently, I was featured in a Georgia Tech article on the aerospace and engineering website, where I discussed my research experience, academic accomplishments and my professional successes in the aerospace field. Honestly, I am still in shock. I felt amazing that I was even considered for the article; that people wanted to hear about my experiences. I also felt overwhelmed by the support and recognition I received from my friends and family.
Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?
I feel it is extremely necessary to incorporate technology in the classroom. The advancement in technology is directly affecting how students learn. My baby cousins at only nine months old knew how to slide and unlock a smart phone; while when I was that age I had no contact with smart phones. Incorporating technology is important because I believe it will help students learn faster and draw their interest more. For example, I am more likely to watch a video or go through a presentation on my tablet rather than listen to a professor lecturing or print out a 100-page presentation.
What’s the biggest obstacle your country has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?
I believe a big obstacle our country faces is the inequality of education based on location. Location should not be a determining factor of the quality of public education. Quality teachers and educational supplies should be evenly dispersed throughout the country. Until this is a reality, it is up to the students to go back into the communities with poorer education systems and give them a boost!
What are you most excited about for the future? What is your biggest hope for tomorrow’s students?
I am extremely excited for the future! I believe the sky is the limit for tomorrow’s students and that they are getting smarter and smarter with each generation. (There are freshmen coming into college with 30+ credits). I hope that every student can achieve whatever they aspire to be, even (and especially) if they want to be a rocket scientist.
About Tiffany Davis
Aerospace Engineering Student, Georgia Institute of Technology
* Birthplace: Silver Spring, Maryland
* Educational background: 3rd year Aerospace Engineering major
* Website I check every day: news.gatech.edu
* Favorite childhood memory: Winning the track championship.
* Favorite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
* Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Microsoft Surface Tablet
* What is the best advice you have ever received? Do something today that your future self will thank you for.