Samantha Hess isn’t shy anymore. When she started at West Virginia University as a computer engineering student, she was quiet and reserved.

“In my freshman year, I would’ve just been sitting there by myself reading a book,” she said.

Now, as a senior computer engineering major from Hedgesville who will graduate later this month, she is one of the most outgoing students in her program.

Hess has been the president of the Society of Women Engineers since 2010. The organization has been active in hosting several activities on campus including Girl Scout Day and Eighth Grade Visitation Day among others.


“I realized this is really what I loved to do. In college, this was a great way to meet with people, because you’re networking with people outside of the major – something you can’t do in the classroom,” she said.

She attended every meeting of the organization during her freshman year and became the webmaster in her second year on campus. That led to her becoming president for the next two years, a post she is sad to leave when she graduates.

“It’s really rewarding to work with little girls and have them say, ‘I want to be an engineer when I grow up.’ That’s what SWE gave me was the opportunity to see that,” she said. “If I can make a difference in one person’s life, I’m happy.”

Click to hear Hess, a computer engineering student, discussing helping change the perceptions of women in the fields of engineering.

In addition, Hess is on the Student Advisory Council for the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. She is also on the Statler College’s Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee.

By branching out, Hess has made the most of her college career and will start her job as a software engineer at SRA International in Bridgeport.

“I won’t miss the workload of classes, but I’ll miss a lot of people at WVU,” she said. “There’s so many opportunities. It’s going to be really hard to leave all that behind.”



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