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Wichita Women in Engineering: Kylie Meier & Taylor Cazabat
Written by Anna Laurin
With leading employers in advanced manufacturing and innovative education opportunities, Wichita is a launching pad for those seeking to excel in a variety of engineering fields.
Located in the heart of Kansas, Wichita State University’s College of Engineering is known for investing in and equipping engineering and computer science students with the tools they need to be successful. Students have access to the state’s largest engineering co-op and internship program, putting real-world experience with global aerospace leaders within reach.
Kylie Meier and Taylor Cazabat are engineering students at Wichita State University (WSU). Kylie, a former WSU track athlete, is pursuing her master's degree in industrial engineering after completing her undergraduate degree in December of 2022. Taylor will finish her undergraduate degree in the spring of 2024 with plans to enroll in the biomedical engineering master's program soon after.
Wichita State University
Hometown: Camdenton, Missouri
Anticipated Master's Graduation Date: December 2023
Why did you choose the engineering field?
I was always fascinated at how small parts worked together to make up a system that serves a completely different function. To this day, I still love to find out the 'why' behind what makes complex systems work and as an engineer I can constantly be asking questions to satisfy my curiosity.
What drives you in the field?
In my perspective, it is an engineer's job to make the world a better place through convenience, speed, reduced costs, accessibility, and an overall improved quality of life. I have a piece of paper on the wall of my room I look at nearly every day that says, "Leave the world better than I found it." This motivates me as an engineer and as a person daily because we all have the capacity to make the world around us brighter.
What would you have told your younger self?
To my younger self I would have tried to convince her that learning is 'cool' and to set goals higher than what I think I can reach. As a teenager, I had a mindset that talent was my limitation and that I just wasn't smart enough to take harder courses or be involved in research as a high schooler. With a mindset now of continuous improvement, I would have told myself the only thing that matters is to give my best effort. The times I fail will never be a reflection that I am a failure. I just need to try a different method.
What should younger students get more involved in or learn about?
As a younger student, I thought that I had to wait until inspiration struck me on the head and that would be what I should pursue as a career. Unfortunately, I was never struck in such an obvious way, but I did eventually start searching and experimenting on my own and that is when I really began to be inspired. Younger students should get involved in everything and learn about anything that remotely sparks an interest. Even if it doesn't spark interest, it is still worth trying because that is the only way to learn who you are and find your passions. I realized later in life that if you don't choose your path, other people will choose it for you.
What are you most excited about in your field once you graduate?
I am most excited about the constant challenges I will be faced within my field. Even though I will graduate from the institution, I will never stop being a student.
Wichita State University
Hometown: Wichita, Kansas
Undergrad Graduation Date: May 2024. Intends to pursue a master's in biomedical engineering soon after.
What is your major? What interested you in that major?
I am a Biomedical Engineering (BME) major. I have known since I was in middle school that I wanted to be an engineer, but I did not know what kind until junior year. I realized that I had a passion for the medical industry, partially thanks to an obsession with Grey's Anatomy, and I figured out this major can help me make a real difference in the healthcare industry.
What class have you enjoyed the most?
I enjoyed Introduction to Biomaterials the most so far. It was a large introduction to the past, current, and future implementation of biomedical devices.
How have your studies influenced you?
My studies have introduced me to the world of research and the idea that there are so many more applications of current materials and products that we do not use. It has also taught me that engineering is not all math and science. It is also largely creativity and problem-solving.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an engineer?
If you care and if you are willing to try you CAN become an engineer. Struggle and imposter syndrome can run rampant so it is important to remember normal people like you do this every day and so can you! All it takes to be an engineer is the drive.
What are you most looking forward to once you are in the work force?
I look forward to working on problems that affect everyone, like trying to make healthcare more affordable!
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