Women In STEM Series – Meet Riley Johnson
Meet Riley Johnson! She is a sophomore here at CCU studying Industrial and Systems Engineering. Growing up, she really enjoyed school and learning. She really liked Physics which inspired her to get into STEM, but she also loved Philosophy.
Riley picked her major because originally she was doing Aerospace Engineering at CU Boulder, the major she is in now is because she wanted to go to CCU and this was the only Engineering major that they had.
She loved the idea of outer space, rockets, physics, the physical world, and inertia made complete sense to Riley because it made her happy problem-solve.
She wanted to do Astrophysics but there are not that many jobs for this specific career. She was a Junior at CU Boulder, so she did Aerospace Engineering for 2 ½ years and realized that she was not happy. She was constantly doing homework and not having much fun. CU Boulder is expensive and since Riley was unsure if she would continue with Aerospace Engineering after college, she wanted to readjust her career plan. Her fiancé goes to CCU, so she decided to come join him at CCU and do Industrial Engineering.
She was inspired by a lot of people to pursue her career path. Her high school Physics teacher, Mr. Hoisure who taught her all four years of high school, encouraged Riley to pursue STEM. Her entire family are either flight attendants or pilots. Her dad is a pilot, her mom is a flight attendant, her sister is a pilot, all of her uncles are pilot, and her aunts are flight attendants which lead her to aerospace engineering.
To be a Woman in STEM is changing a lot of Riley since she was very blessed to not feel the burden of being a Woman in STEM.
She did not notice that she was the minority at CU Boulder but here at CCU it is a lot different. She likes idea that woman have unique capacities that men are not built to do. The perspectives are different from each other but there are different things that each are concerned about which is helpful to hear all sides.
Her favorite thing about STEM is that the problem-solving aspect because it is like solving a puzzle. For example, with Software Engineering which is learning all different pieces of a puzzle that you want to put together and create something by finding problems along the way. Solving problems is the greatest feeling in the world to Riley.
Within her field, she is fascinated by how this field relies on laws of the physical universe and not the randomness.
To be able to put mathematics to the phenomena that we see is so cool.
Being able to send people to the moon because we are able to solve the mathematical equations is so fascinating to Riley.
Some challenges that Riley has had to overcome is that at Boulder, she was non-stop working and she had a problem personally relating to the work that she was doing. Having friends in other fields who had less work to do compared to what she was doing was difficult for her to experience since she had to turn down opportunities to get to know others.
Some encouragement Riley would give to others is that there is nothing that makes you a STEM person or not. People think that they are inclined to only be either left brain or right brain. However, she is good in the creatives and also the logically things. Anybody with enough application and hard work can do STEM.
Riley is able to apply her faith into her field because there is nothing in STEM that cannot persuade her from her faith.
She believes that God created everything for a reason which is why the world is very organized to the molecular side of the world.
Riley enjoys nature, she is not much of a hiker. However, she loves being in nature instead of searching for nature. She likes the peace and getting to see God’s creation by hammocking or the simple activities of stillness that she can do.
It was such a pleasure to interview Riley and get to know her story! Stay tuned for more stories!