Jacqueline Simonis is a project manager who specializes in civil engineering and construction management. She joined Tetra Tech in 2016 and has 12 years of experience in her field. Jacqueline received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Master of Business Administration from New Mexico State University. We spoke with Jacqueline as part of our #INWED19 campaign to not only celebrate our brilliant women engineers but also to raise their profiles and encourage those who aspire to become engineers and work in STEM. Follow #WomenInStem on social media for more stories.

What do you like about working at Tetra Tech?

Working at Tetra Tech opened doors for me to work on engineering and construction projects around the globe. In my three years with Tetra Tech, I have lived and worked in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Poland, and taken multiple trips to Afghanistan.

What is the greatest advice you could pass onto female students who aspire to have a career in engineering?

Engineering gets your foot in the door to opportunities that you may not realize exist. I left college with a civil engineering degree and a lot of uncertainty about what I was going to do with this education. I didn’t want to sit in a cubical and design parking lots for the rest of my life. Luckily, having an engineering degree demonstrates problem solving, critical thinking, and grit. Having a degree in engineering presents countless career paths.

What would you like to see engineering firms do differently or improve on in the future? 

It would be inspiring to see more female leadership in the upper echelons of engineering management, where critical company decisions are made. The industry is still male dominated, which makes it tough for women to envision upper mobility in their careers. 

What projects are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of Tetra Tech’s role in improving access to essential health services in Ethiopia through our involvement in the U.S. Agency for International Development Engineering Services and Construction Oversight (USAID ESCO) project. This Addis Ababa-based project oversaw the construction of 22 health centers around the country and a five-story national blood transfusion service facility in the capital. As the construction manager, I worked alongside extremely talented local engineers, construction contractors, and the USAID Mission to ensure the facilities were built to meet strict design requirements and serve the medical needs of the population for decades to come.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being an engineer?

Teamwork. Working alongside individuals who have different work habits, goals, and ideas can be challenging at times. However, most engineers rely heavily on their teammates to accomplish day-to-day tasks and meet long-term objectives. Learning and succeeding as part of a team is the most challenging part of my career and also the most rewarding. Plus, you get to meet some amazing and talented people along the way.