The Manifesto that we wrote reflects my feelings pretty well. As a mechanical engineering major, some of the CompSci-specific lines do not resonate quite as much with me, but I can get behind the general spirit of them. My partner for the project, Kat, and I re-read “The Conscience of a Hacker” to get a good idea about what the manifesto should be all about, and we figured that it should start with something that makes us kind of bitter. For me, it is all of the people who drop out of Engineering and enter into Mendoza. The fact that so many people sort of ran away from the challenges that were presented in the curriculum. (That is a pretty dramatic interpretation- I do recognize that not everyone actually wants to be an engineer, but it’s a manifesto, so I think I’m entitled to this one point of exaggeration.) This is also a double-edged sword for me because during the really tough classes during sophomore year, which made freshman year look like a cake walk, I definitely thought about whether or not I actually belonged in Engineering. However, due to all of my griping over the people who just went over to Mendoza when times got tough, there was no way I could ever do that myself- nobody likes a hypocrite. So, yeah I guess it’s a war cry of sorts, or maybe just a declaration. A declaration that it’s been incredibly difficult, but I’m still here and I’m better for it. A declaration that it’s not for everyone and not everyone can cut it.
I mostly identify with the portrait that we created. Again, since it is a little more driven towards Computer Science students, there are things that do not quite line up. (I, for one, do not read Learn Essentials of Swift nor is my Lenovo booted to Linux.) Additionally, I do not foresee myself ever building a start-up, but many of the “blueprints” of the projects I’ve worked on have originated in the halls of Fitzpatrick.
As a female engineering student at Notre Dame, I’d say that stereotypes definitely have an effect on my world. Since Notre Dame is not a traditional tech school, it is possible that the impression that people may have towards my Notre Dame engineering degree may not always be positive. Fortunately, I will be working at a company that has had many successful ND engineers under its employment, so it won’t be an issue in my foreseeable future. There are a few different views on female engineers, something we touched upon in our manifesto. One is positive- that the world needs women in STEM fields, so we are empowered and cheered on. Another is negative- that we are in it just because it will be easy for us to get jobs so some company can fill a quota or that we are here because of the good male-to-female ratio. Then there is the often negative treatment of females engineers when they move on to work in the predominantly male industry, but the syllabus says we will get to that issue later in the semester.
In general, stereotypes can significantly impact the way people are viewed. Sometimes in a good way, but usually in a negative way. Even good stereotypes can reduce someone to being just a member of a certain group and can give someone an excuse to not get to know a new and unique person due to preconceived notions. A manifesto or portrait written about a group by a member of that group can definitely be helpful because it can provide insight into the major characteristics of those who belong to that group. But, again, no portrait can be 100% comprehensive and it is impossible to capture the essence of each individual.