What is your specific area of STEM?
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
I design and inspect bridges and culverts.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
Interest in building things and/or how things work and "fit" together. I had a big interest in Legos when I was little. Not just building sets from plans, but also coming up with my own ideas / ways of constructing other items.
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
I knew very little about STEM fields until high school. My father noticed engineering traits in me and encouraged me to learn more about civil engineering. He helped me find an opportunity to job shadow our town's civil engineer.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
I always enjoyed building things. I think creating something useful is very fulfilling for me. After a couple engineering internships, I realized that I really enjoyed the design aspect as well.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
Personally, I have worked both in construction management and design. I've helped estimate, schedule, manage budgets, materials and crews for bridge and roadway projects. This includes trouble shooting design or construction flaws in order to keep projects moving. I've worked projects that were completely new - going through woods, empty fields and demolishing houses to put in new interstate and a new airport. As well as widening interstate and demolishing and reconstructing bridges and roads in a city. Some civil engineers help design and build skyscrapers and sports stadiums. Others might work utilities, water or roadways.
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
Engineering is an exciting and fulfilling career. If you are interested, you should look for more opportunities to experience it - ask other women to shadow them at work and about their careers. Engineers love to share what they do!
Thank you for contributing, Erin!
Women in STEM, we invite you to take our survey. You'll inspire young girls and contribute to the success of the STEM Girls Books series!