What was your favorite subject(s) in high school?
I enjoyed Math the most. Math can be so much more than “numbers” or “magic”. My teachers made the applications real by using data and articles found online and in magazines. They gave all the integrals and functions meaning…Math made me feel like I understood why things worked.
When did you know you were interested in engineering?
I was a junior in high school and a surveyor came out to see our class. (Mind you, I know now that civil engineering is much more than surveying!) He told our class about how Civil Engineers get to work on all kinds of projects around the country. When I finally went to college for Civil Engineering, I was more than sure.
What was it that piqued your interest?
All the different fields you can go into was a shock to me. If you find out you don’t like one, there is another waiting around the corner that might suit your skillset better.
Did you have any mentors?
Not really. I would go to any engineer for help or guidance because everyone’s advice is different. My professors were extremely helpful on my journey to where I am now. Now, at NTH, the P.E.s I have talked with understand that I have a lot to learn and reassure me that that is okay. However, they are not afraid to challenge me and I like that.
Who was your biggest influencer in your career choice?
I’d like to say that surveyor, but I think it’s more. It can take a fleeting feeling to make a decision, but it can be hard to live out once you do. My biggest influencer was my professors. I can’t say that they made life easy, but my ultimate goal was partially shaped by their influence.
Did you face any resistance from family or friends about your career choice?
Yeah… Everyone thought my career path was boring and that I could make more money doing something else. I think the only person that really got it was my dad. Most people still don’t understand Civil Engineering in general, so I don’t take it too personally!
Did you entertain any other career possibilities? If so, what and why didn’t you go that route?
I loved math, so I thought…maybe business? But, I wanted to do something that impacted my community and I would feel proud to be a part of. It is an amazing feeling when you can say as you drive by “I helped with that!”
Where did you go to college? Why?
I went to the University of Detroit Mercy (great school, just saying). I went there because the moment I stepped into the engineering building, I could see myself in the halls. The class sizes were small, the professors cared about you and it just felt like home. I knew I’d spend my sleepless nights in the geotech lab preparing for exams.
What is it about Civil Engineering that caught your interest out of the other engineering fields?
The other fields were boring to me…simple as that. Civil engineering helps people.
How/why did you choose NTH?
A lot of UDM alumni were telling me that NTH is the place to go. I met some now colleagues at a Student Night at U of D Mercy and handed them my resume (happy to say I got a ++). They told me that jobs are always changing and that you will be always learning something new. Who wouldn’t like something new every day at work? Two interviews later, I was hired.
What do you do at NTH and what do you like most about your job?
Currently, I work at the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drain (OMID) Field Office. I assist the engineers and administration in any way I can. I like that this project affects me, my family and my neighbors. I strive to do my best knowing it is for people like them. Secondly, I am learning so much out here from our fellow NTHers Larry Gilbert, Banika Gipson and Abdulnasser Almadhoun. Every day isn’t different anymore like when I was inspecting in the field, but there is still much I have to pick up on from the experts.
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on as an engineer?
Probably the little day-long projects I worked on in the field last summer. I enjoyed meeting new people every day and being outside. But, I think I’ve had enough concrete and density jobs for a lifetime now.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in engineering and related fields?
You’re done with high school? That’s great, you’re not done learning. You’re done with college? That’s great, you’re not done learning. F.E.? Master’s Degree? The same. There will always be new technology and more efficient ways to accomplish a task. Instead, look forward to these things!
I’m not going to sugar coat, Engineering is hard, but worth it. I was the only girl in my graduating class for my major. So, don’t let being a girl stop you. If you like math and science and you sincerely enjoy applying it to create something you can be proud of, why not engineering? Do something you will enjoy and be proud of for the rest of your life!