Karen Aspelin earned her undergraduate civil engineering degree from the University of Virginia and her Master’s from Texas A&M University. Here she shares a little about her career and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
Civil Engineering, Transportation and Traffic
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
I help to plan and design the roadway system that you drive, ride your bike, and walk along every day.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
Playing with Legos, cars, especially cars on roads. Also enjoying mazes and other puzzles.
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
I didn't know anything about the field I ended up in. It wasn't until I was in college that I learned about my career field, and that was through a required engineering class.
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
When I got out of college I was working in a different STEM field (environmental engineering) but wasn't happy in my job. A friend I had gone to college with told me he was in a master's program that focused on transportation engineering. Once I started that program I knew it was the field for me.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
Sometimes when I drive on a road or ride my bike on a trail, I am able to say, "I designed this!" It's so cool to have a product from your work that is used by so many people.
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
My career in the STEM field allows me make a great salary, work flexibly, and be a mom.
Thank you for contributing, Karen!
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!