Ariana Forsythe first got interested in engineering in middle school, during a segment on renewable energy. The possibilities fascinated her; there were so many ways to produce electricity. When she set off for college, at the University of Texas in her hometown of Austin, she knew she wanted to study mechanical engineering.
But in her first few semesters, she felt bombarded by a narrower message: one focused on, and sometimes even delivered by, the fossil fuel industry.
“I almost switched out of the major because I was exposed to so much recruitment from oil and gas companies,” Forsythe said. “But people in my generation are just increasingly firm in the science that we need to reduce carbon emissions, and they don’t want to contribute to them. I have conversations all the time with friends who agree that they’d rather not work for an oil and gas company even if there were lots of jobs.”