Tina Huang, '22, (left) and classmates pose for a photo during the Big/Little event hosted by LMU's Chinese Club. During the event, younger members are paired with older mentors. (Photo courtesy of Huang)

FRESHMAN FOCUS: Tina Huang, ‘22, continues family legacy in civil engineering

Tina Huang , ’22, is attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, and is majoring in civil engineering.

Q: Why did you choose to attend LMU?

A: I visited the school and completely fell in love with it. The campus is gorgeous. I visited the classrooms, and the people were so nice and welcoming. 

When I visited in March for their student admin day, I thought “This is a school that I can actually see myself going to.” 

My cousin, Michaela Chen, ’19, also graduated from Country Day, and she also goes to LMU. She’s been giving me a lot of insight. She’s also in civil engineering, so I’m kind of following in her footsteps. 

Having her as a senior at LMU has been really helpful. It’s very comforting knowing someone that you’re so close with is going to the same college. 

I also got a bunch of financial aid from the school because LMU gives really good financial aid. 

They have a really good STEM program. It’s a medium-sized school, but the STEM program is small. We get to know each other, and we really get to know the professors. 

Q: What are you majoring in and why did you choose that major?

A: I’m majoring in civil engineering. I have an engineering family background, and I’ve always been more of a STEM girl. In high school, I enjoyed physics and math. I’ve never been into English or history, so I was probably going to head into STEM.

Engineering was the best option for me because I don’t really like bio or chemistry. I always enjoyed more hands-on things, and I like civil engineering because I really want to work in buildings.

Q: How has the pandemic affected you? Have you noticed any changes due to COVID-19 on campus? 

A: On campus, a little bit. There have been little COVID-19 outbreaks, and LMU recommends getting tested every month. They have an on-campus testing site where you can get tested, which is easy. 

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: Fall semester, I took a lot of classes because for engineering the graduate requirements are a lot. I had to take chemistry for engineering, chemistry lab, Calculus I, intro to engineering, rhetorical arts, engineering seminar and freshman orientation. 

Next semester, it’s kind of the same thing, but I’m taking Physics, Calculus II, Biology and Engineering again.

Q: What is your favorite class?

A: Out of the classes I’ve taken this semester, I really liked intro to engineering analysis. 

Engineering at LMU has three main sections. There are civil, electrical and mechanical. All three types of engineers take the same classes freshman year. 

Intro to engineering gives you a module for each engineering discipline. There’s a civil module, an electrical one and a mechanical one, and then we get a little taste of each section just in case you change your mind. 

For civil, we did this water quality module where we built water filters from scratch. For mechanical, we did a Rube Goldberg project and for electrical, we built a code for a plant system. That was fun and I got to work with a lot of people.

Q: Are you participating in any clubs?

A: I’m in a few clubs. I’m participating in the Chinese one where we have celebrations and we all hang out as people of color. It’s a very nice community on campus, and we do group hangouts. It’s a good way to meet people outside of your majors.

I’m also in the American Society of Civil Engineering Club. In that one, you’re just hanging out with all the civil engineers. We’re starting this project, and we’re building timber houses. We just started on it, and we’re just discussing what we’re gonna do. That project’s not due until March, but it’s gonna be very exciting.

Q: What is your largest class?

A: Engineering at LMU is pretty small. My largest class is around 90 people. That’s the engineering seminar class where all the engineers go into a big lecture hall, and we have people, such as professionals in the field, come in and tell us about what they’re working on and give us insight career-wise. 

Q: What is your smallest class?

A: My calculus class. That one has around 20 people and it’s a very normal high school setting.

Q: What is your housing situation like?

A: All the freshmen live in the freshmen land, where it’s just all freshmen housing. 

My dorm is called Rosecrans. It’s three floors. The first two floors are all guys and the third floor is all girls. 

I live in a double, just me and one other roommate. We have a communal shower for all the girls on the third floor. It’s pretty nice because we get really big rooms.

Q: How was the transition from Country Day to college?

A: The transition has been a little tough, but not because of Country Day in particular.

I feel as though going from high school to college is going to be difficult for anyone, but Country Day prepped me well in the sense that Country Day is very academically focused. 

I feel like the biggest part about college is that you’re living on campus; you’re not in your house with your parents, and you don’t have a set schedule. Every day you go to your classes and you have so much time. So it’s more about time management. 

It’s more setting a schedule, and that takes a while because you have so much independence all of a sudden and that’s probably been the hardest part of the transition.

Q: What has been your favorite part about college?

A: My favorite part about college has been getting to know people. 

I’ve never met so many people out of state. There are people from Texas, Minnesota, Michigan and New York. They’re really different people, so getting to know them has been really cool. 

Working with other engineers has been fun. The engineering field is mainly guys. There are around 90 engineers in total in our program and there are about 12 girls. It’s been really fun working with the guys; they’re really cool and nice people.

Q: Have you made any freshmen mistakes?

A: Definitely procrastinating and the time management part. 

When you first head into college, everything is really slow. I wasn’t putting too much time into doing homework, and I was thinking, “Oh, this is easy.” 

Then October hits, and things are going full speed. All the classes are just due dates after due dates, and I’m thinking, ‘Okay, maybe I should really set a schedule for when I’m doing work and stuff.’

Q: Do you have any advice for the class of 2023?

A: The biggest tip I would give is to utilize your resources at college. Definitely go to office hours. 

Country Day has a flex period where you can go to teachers and stuff, but college doesn’t have that. Professors have office hours at certain times of the week and they just stay in their office and you can go and ask questions. Utilize those times and get to know your professors. 

Every college has a nice library. You definitely have to go there because I feel that just studying in your room is not that efficient. Always change up where you study. 

Most colleges have study rooms that you can book. You can work with your friends there, and you can write things up on the board. That has been really helpful.

— By Sophia Monasa

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