Transportation Engineer – Chandler Waldal

STEM fields for career

  • Engineering

Tell us what you do in your profession.
As a transportation engineer, my job consists of planning and designing for the future of transportation. I am tasked with coming up with unique, multimodal solutions that accommodate new development while maintaining safe and efficient traffic operations.

How did you end up in your career?
I made the decision to study Civil Engineering in college because I wanted a career path in the STEM field that would be versatile and provide me with options post graduation. Civil Engineering is a very broad industry that has a multitude of fields within the major itself. When I was a freshman in college, I met my current boss at a networking event which led to my first internship at TENW. I continued to intern at TENW for the following 3 years and ultimately ended up accepting an offer to start working for them full time starting in September 2020.

What advice would you give to a girl going in to 8th grade who loves STEM?
Don’t wait for opportunity to come to you, go out there and demand it! You’re stronger than you may think at times and you get to define your own success, so don’t let others define it for you. Have fun with it and don’t sweat the small stuff 🙂

What would you do differently?
I wish I went to an all-girls STEM camp in middle school like AAUW’s Tech Trek Camp 🙂

Is there anything you wish you had studied that you did not?
Since the majority of my classes were all STEM related, I didn’t have much time to take classes outside of my major. I wish I was able to take more business-related classes because I think having a business background would be extremely beneficial working in the engineering industry.

Other STEM positions she has had
I worked for the College of Engineering as an Engineering Peer Educator responsible for facilitating a class of first-year engineering students. The class was focused on introducing new students to the College of Engineering and providing them with resources to help guide them throughout their journey at UW.

What does _________ Job ____ mean?
A transportation engineer is responsible for the flow of traffic. Transportation systems are constantly changing, and it is our job to make sure people can get from one place to another in a safe and efficient manner – whether that be in a car, on a bike, walking, or on a bus.

What kinds of things do you do each day?
I work for a private transportation consulting firm, which means we get hired to work on transportation projects by a wide variety of clientele such as commercial/retail developers, corporate organizations, school districts, and many more. One example of a project I have worked on is preparing a traffic study for a high school. For this project, I was tasked with estimating how much traffic the new high school would add to the existing transportation network, and coming up with a solution that ensured the traffic flow entering/exiting the high school worked well with the surrounding traffic network.

Education (colleges & Degrees; additional certifications):

  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle

Notable accomplishments

  • Placed 1st in UW’s Civil Engineering Capstone Project Competition – we designed a Bus Rapid Transit station in Bothell
  • Started TENW’s Internship Program as a sophomore in college and have been the Intern Manager for 3 years responsible for interviewing and hiring summer interns
  • Awarded the WTS Sharon D Banks Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship junior year of college
  • Captain of the UW Women’s Lacrosse team – we were regional champs GO DAWGS