If there’s an occupation less funny than electrical engineering, you’d be hard-pressed to name it. And yet it was an important step on Loni Love’s path from assembly line to co-host of The Real. As a result, she’s passionate about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) — especially when it comes to encouraging girls to enter the field.

Open to possibilities

When Love was growing up in Detroit, she was not aware of engineering, but says her mother laid some important groundwork for her future. “I give my mom props for allowing me to do things like Girl Scouts and science fairs that helped me realize how many different things were possible in the world.”

“Even though she ultimately opted for something else, Love says an engineering degree changed her life.”

After high school, Love worked on an auto assembly line. When she was 18 years old, the line broke down and a man came in to fix it — an event that had a big impact on the rest of her life. She says, “He was very different from us and I asked who he was. He was an engineer, became my mentor and helped me find a college where I could study.”

Options and confidence

Love studied engineering at Prairie View A&M, where she also discovered stand-up comedy. After graduation, she spent almost a decade working as an engineer. While she had a good experience in engineering, despite being a young black woman in a male-dominated occupation, Love decided to focus on stand-up when faced with her third lay-off.

Even though she ultimately opted for something else, Love says an engineering degree changed her life in many positive ways, and she encourages other young women to give STEM a chance. “We need more women in STEM. We are thought-provoking and capable of solving problems — something that often gets overlooked in society.”