Mechanical Engineering Senior Begins Career in Sustainable Building Design

Theresa Siri knew from her first visit to Loyola Marymount University’s Westchester campus that she had found a collegiate home. “Just walking around, I noticed that everyone was so friendly,” the senior mechanical engineering major recalls. “It was clear that all of the students were happy and proud to be there.”

Siri has made the most of her four years in the LMU Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering, both in and out of the classroom. The summer after her sophomore year, she worked as a research assistant for Brendan Smith, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, on a computerized driving track designed to assist recovering stroke victims. More recently, she assisted another faculty member, Mahsa Ebrahim, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, on research into a spray-cooling method for overheated surfaces.

During freshman orientation, Siri learned about the LMU chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and began attending meetings for the organization, which aims to support and promote the participation of women in a field in which they have been traditionally underrepresented. As a junior, Siri received funding from Seaver College to attend the national SWE conference in Minnesota, along with other members of the chapter. “That experience solidified my love for SWE because I realized it wasn’t just a professional organization, but it was also about women helping women,” Siri says. “I was motivated to give back.”

She’s done just that as the current president of the LMU chapter of SWE, working with the executive board and alumni to expose members to the wide-ranging opportunities available to women in engineering while fostering an atmosphere of peer support. Siri has also found time to work with Seaver students as a teaching assistant and tutor.

Growing up, Siri learned all about cars from her father, and by the time she was in high school she began considering a career in the automotive industry — particularly around developing sustainable and energy-efficient solutions. She did an internship at General Motors in Michigan last summer, and after graduation she will begin work at Arup, an engineering firm, as part of an effort to design systems for sustainable buildings.

“When I talk to alumni, recruiters and hiring managers, they say the engineering students coming out of LMU end up going far quickly because of all of the attention we receive and the diversity of our experiences,” Siri says. “I am grateful for the opportunities LMU has given me.”