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ECEn Graduate Student and Mom: Sharisse Poff balances it all

Sharisse Poff family

Being an engineer and a mom at the same time? Many people would say it’s too challenging, if not outright impossible. But Sharisse Poff proves that with the Lord’s help and support from loved ones, the impossible isn’t just possible – it’s a blessing.

Sharisse Poff is a graduate student in the Electrical Engineering program here at BYU – and the mother of adorable baby Oliver, born last fall. Sharisse’s husband was also an ECEn student. He graduated with a Master’s in Computer Engineering and currently works full time as an FPGA engineer (and a dad).

While it’s challenging being both a mother and an engineer, Sharisse wants people to know that it’s possible. “I was often told growing up that there is no such thing as a part-time engineer, but there definitely is! The people I work with are very supportive of my role as a mother and have been very flexible with my schedule,” she says. Balancing work and family commitments is also important. “It's definitely important to complete commitments and make progress at work, but as long as I do that, I feel very empowered to fulfill both roles. Days are long with all the things my family is doing, and we are constantly adjusting our schedule, but we've been able to make it work!”

Of course, new moms need tons of help. That goes double when you’re an engineer too! “I wouldn't be able to do all I'm doing without my husband's help. He has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, especially when I have felt overwhelmed. He takes turns caring for Oliver every day to give me time to work and progress toward my goal of becoming an engineer. Together we are able to accomplish a lot!”

Oliver also does his part too. “Oliver is a great team player, too. He helps quite a bit by playing happily and sleeping well.” In both engineering and raising a family, teamwork makes the dream work!

When asked, Sharisse had this advice to offer both new parents and students in the ECEn department: “My greatest piece of advice, whether for time as a student or for parenthood or for any other time in life, is to seek God's guidance in your decisions about what to pursue, and then to take confidence in knowing that God approves as you move forward. If He approves of you taking a certain path, then He'll support you along the way as long as you continually seek His help.”

Sharisse proves that you don’t have to compromise when it comes to the big things in life. With love, support, and faith, all things are possible.