inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Cheryl Fichter

If you don’t get out of the box you’ve been raised in, you won’t understand how much bigger the world is.” – Angelina Jolie

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hello! My name is Cheryl Fichter, and I’m a sophomore Chemical Engineer at UC Davis. I’m the Publicist for the Society of Women Engineers, and I’m also in a sorority. I am interning with PG&E this summer, which I am very excited about! Something interesting about me is that I grew up in a pretty rural town in Maine, so I was quite overwhelmed by the tech culture when I moved to the Bay Area. It amazes me that so many innovative companies and people are all gathered in the same area, and I’ve found it to be a very inspiring place to live and go to school.

What # would define your life journey?
I think my life moto has been #JustDoIt, because I’ve taken a couple big leaps-of-faith in my life, and I try not to let the fear of failure stop me from being brave. I had the opportunity to move from Maine to California during my senior year of high school, which was very intimidating and nerve-wracking. It would’ve been much easier to stay where I was comfortable, but I ended up loving California so much that I stayed here for college. I proved to myself that amazing experiences are waiting as long as you aren’t too scared to take them!

Favorite website / app:
Pinterest is definitely my favorite website. I’m a big DIY person, and you can find literally any project on there.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
The one person who has influenced not only my career path, but also most of my life choices, is my mother. When I was young, she told me a story about a defining experience she had in college. She was studying nursing at the time, and a male friend of hers told her that she would never be smart enough to study Chemical Engineering, so she switched her major to Chem. E. and graduated right along with him! I think she has definitely instilled that same attitude in me, and I admire that she never accepts somebody else telling her how to live her life. She definitely taught me to not let others define my path. People always ask me if I’m studying Chemical Engineering because of her, and I guess it’s definitely an interest she passed along.

Song that makes you want to dance:
My go-to dancing and workout song is Flawless by Beyonce!

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
This past summer, I took an online MATLAB class without having any coding experience whatsoever. Honestly, I completely hated it because it really tested my patience, and I failed the class. I was so mad at myself for giving up, so I’m taking another beginning MATLAB class at UC Davis, so (hopefully) I’ll redeem myself after this semester.

Ideal Job:
My ideal job would be one where I can take on many dynamic projects and responsibilities at once. I want my job to utilize all of my skills, not only engineering knowledge, but also communication, organization and leadership. I see myself in a project management position where I can exercise all of those at once.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I think a very important realization is that it can become unhealthy to always see other women (classmates and co-workers) as competition. We are all working toward the mutual goal of increasing the presence of females in STEM industries, so nothing bad can ever come from helping other women succeed. Lifting each other up is the best way to accomplish this goal!

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