The power to lead is the power to transform. Notre Dame is proud to celebrate women whose scholarship and leadership are leaving an indelible imprint on the global community. This is an excerpt from one of six profiles featured on womenlead.nd.edu.
College of Engineering
The Leo E. and Patti Ruth Linbeck Collegiate Chair and associate professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences
Tracy Kijewski-Correa is a female in a traditionally male-dominated field. There have been challenges, and from very early on — she recalls her suggestions during group work as an undergraduate being dismissed out of hand by her male classmates, for one — yet Kijewski-Correa mostly remembers the sincere empathy of professors at Notre Dame who knew she was a student and the caregiver to the ailing grandparents who helped raise her.
“This was a place where professors cared about this girl who they never saw in the evenings or weekends because I was going back home to be a nurse, then coming back and working,” she recalls. “They asked, ‘How’s grandma? How’s grandpa?’ That made a huge impression on me, because I wasn’t just a social security number on a sheet with a grade.”
That empathy is something Tracy Kijewski-Correa now imparts to students who seek her mentorship. It’s a characteristic she believes is crucial to becoming a “Notre Dame engineer,” one borne partly out of the multidisciplinary approach the University requires of its engineering students.
“I was thankful to be a Notre Dame engineer, because it was such a different experience,” she says. “I appreciated the arts and letters classes, that well-rounded approach. It played into my ability to think creatively, and to lead. Lots of schools just stop at the technical training.”
Originally published by Office of Strategic Content at news.nd.edu on March 08, 2016.