Dual Degree Student Voices

Abigail Barbour

Abigail Barbour
Oahu, Hawaii

Dual Degree Program

BS Applied Math, 2010
Hawai‘i Pacific University

BS Civil Engineering, 2010
Washington University at Saint Louis


Growing up in Hawaii, I heard many radio commercials advertising HPU's small class sizes and campus locations. As I approached high school graduation, I decided I wanted to pursue a career related to math and science, but I also wanted to stay in Hawaii for a few years. HPU's 3-2 Engineering Program seemed like a perfect fit.

While still a senior in high school, I was able to take two math classes at HPU and I remember thinking how well organized and qualified my teachers were. Building relationships with my teachers over that time and during the three years I spent before transferring is what I value the most from my time at HPU. My professors in every department were always very accessible and clearly loved what they were doing. Looking back, I can't pick just one outstanding professor because so many of them were excellent. I loved all my math and science classes at HPU and felt well prepared in that area when I transferred to Washington University in St Louis in 2008.

It was challenging to transition to a top school such as WashU, but I felt that I had the resources to transition appropriately through their transfer orientation and help with housing. The higher difficulty of classwork, larger percentage of grading based on tests, accessibility of professors (we usually worked with TA's), and larger class sizes (for a few classes) were the primary challenges that I encountered after my transfer. However, transferring to WashU was a life-changing experience and I don't regret one minute of it.

While at WashU I became involved in several on-campus organizations and served as vice-president of the Engineering Student Council and president of the Dual Degree Engineering Association. I also had the opportunity to go to several conferences through various student groups. I obtained my first job interview with Schlumberger after going to a career fair with the WashU Society of Women Engineers. Intramural sports, including volleyball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, and softball, kept me busy as well.

Like HPU, there were ample opportunities to work on campus and I made extra money by working in the career center as a peer adviser and working in our engineering machine shop. I loved the campus atmosphere at WashU and the beautiful surroundings, including Forest Park, a beautiful municipal park located right across the street from campus. I loved running, walking, biking, and visiting the zoo in the park. The metro system next to campus made transportation exceptionally easy. I often got myself to the airport via a thirty minute metro ride with my free WashU metro pass.

I felt well-prepared to enter the workplace professionally as I approached graduation. Once you are at WashU, you realize that they expect a certain caliber of professionalism and WashU's career center provided many resources for finding employers, preparing for an interview, and creating an effective resume. I interviewed for an internship at L'Oreal & Maybelline on campus and had the privilege of working with them during the summer of 2009. While exploring my career opportunities, I was very picky about what type of position I wanted and only applied to two companies during the fall of my senior year. Fortunately I had a job offer from Schlumberger Technology Corporation several months before my spring graduation in 2010. I worked with Schlumberger as a field engineer in South Texas in hydraulic fracturing until late 2012 when I got engaged. My fiance and I are currently undecided as to where we will live, but I am confident I will be able to find a position wherever we decide to settle down.