Tia is entering the Civil Engineering program to pursue her passion of learning the “how” and the “why” behind construction projects. Her commitment to enter a non-traditional occupation (NTO) as a woman illustrates how we are all capable of going beyond the expected. Read more about her decision to pursue this career option below.
Why did you choose the Civil Engineering degree program?
I will be entering into the Civil Engineering program this fall. I have been working in construction for four years now and started out as a flagger. Flagging is where my interests were piqued into what was going on behind me. Where was the material coming from? How are the dump trucks being loaded? So many more questions where I wanted to learn more. After my first season I transitioned into quality control, where I'm finally seeing the raw materials that are going into the roadways and bridges.
How will this career choice help you break down stereotypes about women in this industry?
The construction industry is male dominated and of mostly white males. In my current role, I am the only female minority (Native American) in the field. There is only one woman for every 100 men in the field. Within that low percentage, I also add something very important: diversity.
I want to see women that look like me reach senior management positions. I know that I can do anything I put my mind to. It’s about having that interest and passion to want more, to be better, and to prove people wrong. That “Yes, I am a Native American woman and I can do that too!”
What are you most excited about within this industry?
This industry is constantly changing as the work progresses, and there are ample opportunities to learn something new. You can witness each construction phase as the project develops and, ultimately, have a physical representation of your contribution to the finished product. Working in construction makes me feel very valuable in a society. I feel proud doing this job!