When first being accepted into Temple University, I was ecstatic to attend a University away from home that had so much diversity and a wide range of majors to choose from. I had a very strict plan: major in Chemistry, obtain enough credits to complete all of my prerequisites, and attend pharmacy school after two years of undergraduate education. After obtaining my Pharm. D. degree, I wanted to apply to the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) in order to be a pharmacist for members of the military. At the end of my very first semester in college, my father passed— resulting in my loss of motivation for what I had planned. My father was an OB/GYN and an officer in the United States Navy. After his transitioning, I felt as though I no longer had guidance and that there was no way I could possibly continue on my original path.

There I was, now a sophomore, still majoring in chemistry, but unsure as to why. I began to fail my classes— I could not recognize myself at all. I knew a change needed to be made; however, I had no clue where to start. I paid a visit to the Director of Advising at the College of Science and Technology. There, I was told that I needed to do some deep soul searching. I was assigned personal skills and interests quizzes from Temple’s website and I was to go from there. After learning what my interests were, I was forced to make my own path instead of following my father’s. I began to look into Industrial and Systems Engineering and quickly became fascinated with its versatility and the wide range of opportunities I could gain from this major. Just before the start of my junior year, I switched out of the College of Science and Technology and switched into the College of Engineering.

After taking the scenic route to learn what my correct path was, I decided that if I was going to change my major as late as I did, I needed to be sure that I was going to commit to this change. In order to do this, I planted routes within this major: joining the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) solidified my decision.

NSBE plays a very big role in who I am today because I am more focused than ever. This organization has provided alignment to my education and to my future, as well. Personally, the change that I made was not an easier one, but a more fitting one. Being so heavily involved with like-minded students who are committed to the same decision as myself is a constant reminder that no matter what obstacles are in my way, I can overcome them. When in doubt, I no longer lose motivation; instead, I lean on my peers to keep me in position.

senator 2

elise webster

Industrial and Systems Engineering


Temple University National Society of Black Engineers