July 31, 2014Her job: Field Construction Engineer for URS Corporation
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
Currently I am working as a field construction engineer (aka barge engineer). We support day to day activity on what is going on with the construction site. This includes creating work plans, getting critical lift plans prepared, getting some more basic engineering drawing done, and performing engineering calculations with supervision at the moment. We ensure the construction site performs smoothly without interruption by providing support to the senior engineer and the craft/ superintendent.
Why did you choose engineering?
I grew up being curious about mainly structure in building and the history behind how they come about building those structures. I believe every structure is unique and that they are built using the methods they choose for a variety of reasons. It could go from the customs, different building codes (it range from country to country and state to state), feasibility, and ground conditions.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
I went to the University of Southern California with a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering.
What do you like best about being an engineer?
Right now I am currently working on a construction site. It is pretty awesome that I get to see this project being built in front of my eyes. I previously worked with a Geotechnical Professional Engineer. It was amazing that I got to see behind the scenes work on how the foundation for windmills was prepared. It takes a lot of planning and research in order to build a foundation for a windmill.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
It has been a long hard road for me to achieve my bachelor’s degree and my career. I had my first daughter in college, but it didn’t stop me from pursuing my degree. I use her as my motivation for getting my degree and being able to provide for her. Over the next few years I got married to an active duty service member, and that presented another obstacle in my career. With the military moving us as frequently as it did, I learned to grow tougher and learn as much as I can in engineering with different engineers.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
The biggest challenges for me will be family. There are a lot of times I’ve had to take time off or leave a position in order to be with my family. As my kids are getting older and more independent, getting back into the swing of things in this engineering career isn’t as easy as it seems. There are many people who question if I will be able to last at work being a mother of three and an engineer. Statistically most women quit their careers to be with family, and I am going against the odds.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
My short term goal at the moment is getting my fundamentals of engineering certificate. I want to be able to do design work one day. My long term goal is to get my professional engineering certificate and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering. I want to be able to travel as a professional engineer as well.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
My family is the biggest influence on my life choices. My dad is an Aeronautical Engineer, and naturally he challenges me to think about how things work the way they work. My mom provided an environment where I could get the best education I can ever imagine. My kids make me want to be a better engineer/ person in order for me to become their role model. My husband is one of the hardest workers I know, and he makes me wants to work harder and achieve more in life.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
Continue to be curious. There are plenty of things in life to learn and create. Some of the best things that were created are because someone got curious and saw a need for a solution. If any of you are reading this and need someone to talk to, I am free to answer the best I can.