River Falls, WI
Job Title: 
Graduate Engineer
Minnesota Department of Transportation
What are you doing today?: 

I am working for the Minnesota Department of Transportation as a Graduate Engineer. I am in a rotational program for 1.5 - 2 years, which means I move around to different areas within Mn/DOT to see a lot of jobs/experiences within the organization. Each rotation is approximately 3-6 months long, and gives you a “flavor” of each area. Currently I am in Road Design, and I will also be doing rotations in Bridge Hydraulics, Construction, and Maintenance.

What personal advice would you give to high-school students considering a career in engineering?: 

Go for it! You don't have to be the kid who took everything apart and put it back together to be interested in engineering (something I heard a lot when I was looking at engineering). My best subjects were usually reading and writing, although I enjoyed math and science as well. The profession needs people with a variety of strengths, from the more traditional design/mechanics focus to people with good communication/presentation skills to be competitive.

What was your first job after graduation, and how did it impact your career?: 

My first job was working for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). I worked in the hydraulics unit for about 1 1/2 years. From this job, I realized that I really enjoyed being in the public sector, partly because I felt like we had the most control over our projects and more directly impacted the general public. When my husband and I started looking to move closer to our family in WI, we only really explored the public sectorand ended up at Mn/DOT!

What was your greatest experience while attending the College of Engineering here at MSU?: 

Tough question I had so many great experiences at MSU COE. I guess attending the SWE National Conferences. I got to travel to a lot of cool cities and see a lot of very impressive women engineers at all stages of their careers. It also encouraged me to take on a regional representative role one year while I was doing my masters degree. I can thank SWE in general for my much improved presentation and networking skills (probably the most important part of my new job).

How does your profession impact people's lives?: 

Everything that Mn/DOT does revolves around providing a transportation system to the public that is safe, reliable, and as cost effective as possible. I think that Civil Engineering in general impacts so many areas of peopleâ's lives from water/wastewater treatment to transportation and beyond.

How were you inspired to become an engineer?: 

My mom was a 3rd grade teacher, and always focused on math and science when we were growing up both parents encouraged us to do science fairs and those types of activities. In high school, I had a great math teacher my senior year and he constantly steered students toward thinking about engineering as a profession. He felt that engineers could do almost anything they wanted to (we are problem solvers!), so he tried to build interest in all types of engineering.

Environmental Engineering
Degree Information: 
BS Civil Engineering College of Engineering Michigan State University, May 2002 | MS Environmental Engineering College of Engineering Michigan State University, August 2004