Engineers Week Spotlight: Rachel Sternberg, PE

How did you decide to pursue a career in engineering?

I have actually been interested in being an engineer since I was a kid. I have always loved school and learning, and engineering was explained to us in middle school as a career in problem-solving. I attended a girls’ engineering camp with my best friend one summer and have been hooked ever since.

I continued to enjoy sciences, especially math, throughout high school and applied to engineering colleges during my senior year. While attending Texas A&M, I explored several different engineering career paths, including petroleum, chemical, and even briefly robotics, before settling on civil engineering and, eventually, land development.

I didn’t know any engineers growing up and was the first Aggie in my family, but once I set my mind to something, I can be very determined to succeed!

How has BGE helped you to develop and expand your professional career as an engineer?

I first started working for BGE as a summer intern when I was a junior in college. I returned to BGE the next summer for a second internship and started full-time once I graduated. I have spent over 6 years working full-time with BGE as an engineer and am so proud of everything I have accomplished.

One of my biggest goals as an engineer was to obtain my professional engineering license. BGE provided me the opportunity to gain 4 years of varied technical experience to include in my application. BGE also paid for my study course and gave me the day off to take the test. I’m happy to say I received my license in 2022, and it has been a huge milestone in my career.

I’m looking forward to continuing to grow as a professional engineer in my current role and know that BGE is the right place to learn from other very talented and well-respected engineers.

What qualities and skills does it take to be successful in engineering?

I think a lot of people consider strong math and science skills to be the most important qualities of an engineer. While math and science skills will help you get through school and understand the technical side of engineering, there are many different and important skills required to be successful in engineering.

In addition to math and science, communication and critical thinking are also tools I use every day to solve problems as an engineer and project manager. A successful engineer can actually spend a lot of time out of their day working with other people. Communication skills are needed to discuss, explain, and delegate work to a variety of people with different backgrounds.

One of the most exciting and challenging parts of being an engineer is being the go-to person to solve other people’s problems. Critical thinking will help you examine the problem from different sides and work to find the best solution.

I also always try to be open to learning, practice patience, and keep a positive attitude to face everyday challenges.

What is your favorite type of work to do in the engineering field?

I have always really enjoyed that civil engineering helps me to better understand the world around me. My favorite thing about land development is that I get to learn a little bit about several different things. While I think the technical work involved in designing storm drainage systems, detention ponds, and mapping utilities for master-planned communities is very interesting, I like that I can use that knowledge in different situations to solve development problems.

Having different conversations with public agencies, attorneys, clients, and land planners about our work makes every day different and keeps things interesting. There are so many different ways to apply my engineering experience to each project that I know I will always have the opportunity to learn more and grow. Each project is its own unique puzzle, which can take years to complete, but it is satisfying every time another piece falls into place.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I would love to be really fast, like the Flash. It feels like there are a thousand things I want to get done every day, balancing my work and family life. If I could move really quickly, I would be able to finish my to-do list at work and home, spend time with my family, travel the world, and live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, I think I’m going to have to keep working on getting through one day at a time!