With Engineers Week and job fair season behind us, we’re reflecting on why we’re passionate about promoting engineering as a career choice. Of note, in-person university job fairs were certainly a welcome change in early 2022.
"It was great to be back in-person and have direct conversation with students,” said HR Generalist, Joanna Cabaj, PHR, SHRM-CP. “It's very rewarding to meet these bright engineers in the making and learn what inspires them. They're the future of engineering, and I just love that energy.”
Recently, Clark Dietz staff shared stories on why they pursued engineering careers and offered advice for tomorrow’s engineers. Be sure to stop by our website to view open positions and learn about our internship opportunities.
Why did you pursue a career in Engineering?
Daniel P. Powers, PE, CFM - I have always been curious in understanding how things work and why things function the way that they do. I also grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and am captivated with the architecture of the buildings and bridges as well as the roads, waterway systems and other engineering feats that the City has to offer. These two things coupled together with great mentorship in my early years really drove me to pursue a career path in civil engineering.
Ana A. Niño Flores, PE - My engineering career path begins as a child with my mom inculcating the love of mathematics to me. As a young undocumented teenager, with English as my second language, mathematics was a language I understood. It continued to provide me hope to pursue a career with math as its foundation. Acceptance into the College of Engineering at Illinois Tech was a sign, and it gave me the confidence I needed to dive into the engineering studies. Because Engineering is universal, it became my new hope to become a professional within the industry anywhere in the world in case immigration laws hindered me from practicing in the U.S.
Katherine M. Kreienkamp, PE - I pursued engineering for a few different reasons. Growing up, I always enjoyed science and math, which led me to look into engineering while in high school. Civil engineering, in particular, interested me because of how it affects lives on a daily basis, in ways that a lot of people don't think about. Civil encompasses a large variety of topics- buildings, bridges, hydrology, geotechical, environmental, etc. I liked the challenge of finding a way to design and improve infrastructure while doing it in a way that kept safety, costs, aesthetics, and public interests in mind. Civil engineering is also incredibly service-based, which really appealed to me. Every project is different and presents different challenges, but at the end of the day it results in something that improves the lives of others.
Mitchell T. Daharsh - I chose to follow an engineering path simply because of my love for science and math. I specifically chose civil engineering because of the opportunity to work in the field as well as in an office setting.
Nicholas D. Rademacher - As civil/environmental engineers, we have the opportunity to impact people’s lives by providing and maintaining basic sanitation and drinking water needs. Each day, I am able to engage in projects that improve not only people’s quality of life, but also the physical environment as a whole. While each engineering project we work on may not solve grand scale issues, each project is a piece of that puzzle. Working in this engineering field provides a rewarding career by improving the vital infrastructure that we tend to take for granted.
How would you inspire future engineers or encourage them to consider engineering?
Daniel P. Powers, PE, CFM - For those looking to pursue a path in engineering, I highly recommend talking to and reaching out to engineers across all fields (electrical, mechanical, software, civil, etc.) to get an understanding of what they do on a daily basis. More and more high schools are also offering engineering related courses which can be a great introduction into the engineering fields. Never be afraid to ask questions and seek answers because that is how you grow as an individual. A common trait I have found among engineers is that desire to serve as a mentor for the next generation so that they can take over and continue to improve society as a whole.
Ana A. Niño Flores, PE - Young students: Simplify your life. Ponder about what you enjoy and what challenges you. If mathematics is a language you comprehend and it pushes you, think about engineering. Why not?
Mitchell T. Daharsh - The advice I would give to young people considering an engineering career is to be curious and ask why and how things work. Much of the products, technology, and infrastructure that surround us every day have had an engineer to design why and how they function.
Antonio E. Acevedo, PE - My son enjoys learning all about structural engineering and roadway geometrics with his train tracks and building blocks.
Nirav T. Patel, PE - My son and I took apart his RC car to replace several broken parts as well as the motor after he crashed it. He put it back together on his own, with a little help from YouTube!
Our staff also took the opportunity to meet with students directly in the classroom:
Katherine M. Kreienkamp, PE - Having individuals willing to share their knowledge on the field helped set me on the path I am now. Because of this, I’m passionate about sharing my love of Engineering with young students. A few times a month, I go into a local 4th grade classroom to assist the teacher during her science class. During Engineer’s Week, I’m planning to give a presentation in a local 8th grade classroom on my job as an engineer (this is done in partnership with the ACEC Education Committee). Studies have shown that the earlier you get information on engineers in front of young students, the more likely they are to pursue engineering (or similar STEM fields) later in life. This is especially important for those who are in under-represented groups, including young women and minorities. Having someone that they can look up to encourages pursuit of that field and helps them envision themselves in that role.
Christopher J. Beyer, PE represented the American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin in a video describing the engineering profession to Kindergartners.
David A. Wichman, PE presented his occupation to Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center students and provided an opportunity for them to ask questions about engineering.