In honor of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), we’ve highlighted some of the amazing women here at RPA.
KERRY LYNCH, PE, RSP1 When I was in college I got a job counting cars for a research project at the Western Transportation Institute. With the guidance and support of one of my mentors, this simple job quickly blossomed into an interest in, and eventual passion for, traffic and transportation. I love working in the transportation industry because it’s so relatable and ingrained in our daily lives. Everyone who walks, bikes, drives, or takes the bus knows something about transportation! As I’ve progressed in my career I’ve evolved from the engineering side of things to the planning side, becoming what we in the industry lovingly call a “plan-gineer”. I love working with communities to think about the transportation system 5, 10, and even 20 years down the road and being able to put a plan in place to help achieve a shared vision. These days, I’ve really enjoyed working on projects in the realm of sustainable transportation, safety for all users, and planning for all transportation modes.
HANNAH SCHWEIKERT Hey, I’m Hannah! I’m a Junior at Carroll College, playing volleyball and studying Civil Engineering. Go Saints! I became interested in civil engineering because of the real-world application. Being able to face a challenge and see your solution come to life is a goal I strive to achieve. I was so excited to intern at RPA to explore different fields of civil engineering and get the chance to learn from some of the best! One project I’m helping work on is the Kootenai National Forest campgrounds. I grew up in Northwest Montana and love the outdoors so redesigning the campgrounds I grew up going to is pretty special, and I’m excited to see them come together.
ELIZABETH BARTON, EI My favorite part about a career Civil Engineering is that each day is different, no two projects are the same, and I anticipate a lifelong career of learning. I originally chose to study engineering at college because mathematics was my favorite subject in school. My high school math teacher, Ms. Bleken, was a driving force behind the reason I pursued Civil Engineering. Women in engineering continued to inspire me at college, where I was taught by multiple female professors who had walked my footsteps years before. Dr. Plymesser, my academic advisor and Open Channel Hydraulics professor, and Dr. Matteson, my Structures professor and ASCE group advisor, were two women in particular that I really looked up to. Once I started taking upper-level courses at college, I found my niche in transportation and hydrology/hydraulics. Luckily, my position at RPA in the Highways group incorporates both those interests. With only a year of professional experience, I am excited to further explore my interests and watch the population of women in engineering continue to grow.
APRIL GERTH, PE I’m not sure I really chose to be a Transporation Engineer, I feel like it chose me. Jobs were scarce when I graduated and I felt grateful that Montana Department of Transportation offered me a position designing roadways. 30 years later, I have had the opportunity to collaborate on a wide variety of projects, from living snow fence to interstate interchanges with multiple roundabouts. Auto crashes can have devastating impacts on families and communities, and I hope I have contributed in making Montana a safer place for residents and visitors.
SARAH NICOLAI, PE, PTP I really enjoy the opportunity to make a positive difference through transportation projects. After collecting data and conducting technical project reviews, one of my favorite aspects of my work is meeting with people in person to understand their concerns and hear their perspectives. For me, public and stakeholder meetings really reinforce the human impact and importance of engineering.
“International Women in Engineering Day began in the UK in 2014 as a national campaign from the Women’s Engineering Society. Since then, INWED has grown enormously, receiving UNESCO patronage in 2016 and going truly global the following year.”
“In 2017, National Women in Engineering Day became international for the first time due to the interest and enthusiasm developed by the international audience and participants in the previous years. International Women in Engineering Day was born to enable the celebration of women in engineering to become global.”
To learn more check out this link! https://www.wes.org.uk/