Celebrating Girl Day 2021 with Kelly Duerr
“If you are a female interested in making the world a better place through a challenging and rewarding career in engineering, don’t let the male-dominated field intimidate you. Diversity in engineering is so important, and women offer a personal and unique insight to the field.”
From a very young age, Kelly Duerr, Staff Engineer, loved math and science. In addition, she had an interest in art and design. As engineering combines all of those interests, Kelly decided to pursue the field, stating, “Engineering offers me the perfect opportunity to use my technical skills to solve problems while using my creative skills to help bring projects to life.”
Kelly earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Alabama in 2018. In between semesters, she interned with PEA Group in the summers of 2016 and 2017. Not only did Kelly find the program enjoyable, but she also received valuable exposure to the many different steps in the process of land development and site design. Through the internship program, Kelly discovered the importance of communication in engineering, understanding that it takes multiple talented, hard-working engineers to bring projects to life. The program demonstrated that effective communication and collaboration are a large aspect in the process running smoothly.
Kelly was offered a full-time position with PEA Group in October of her senior year. “I was extremely relieved to have had a job locked down 7 months before graduation. I was able to enjoy my last few months of college without stressing over finding a job,” Kelly states. “It made my first day easier seeing familiar faces,” she found it comforting that she had already met and formed relationships with most of her coworkers as an intern.
Since accepting a full-time position, Kelly has learned techniques and skills from each engineer she has collaborated with. As she has continued to gain knowledge and experience, she has utilized those skills to offer solutions of her own and take on more responsibility within the many projects she has been involved in.
Girl Day is a worldwide campaign dedicated to engaging girls in engineering and demonstrating how engineering shapes the world. Providing educational, participatory opportunities, such as Kelly’s internship with PEA Group, not only allows for interest in the field to continue to grow but gives a first-hand look at how engineering changes the world, as well. Kelly believes “hands-on experience outside of the classroom is invaluable while in college.” Her internship allowed her to take the knowledge she had learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world civil engineering problems and projects.
This year’s National Engineering Week theme of Imagining Tomorrow, depicts how those in the field of engineering have and continue to make the world a better place. Kelly believes women are valuable to engineering, stating, “If you are a female interested in making the world a better place through a challenging and rewarding career in engineering, don’t let the male-dominated field intimidate you. Diversity in engineering is so important, and women offer a personal and unique insight to the field.”