The Journey of a Traffic Engineer

Karlynn Kerney : Traffic Engineer at STV

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In 5th grade, I told everyone that I wanted to be an FBI agent and drive a yellow Ferrari. A year later, I was all about becoming a math professor. By the time I got to high school, I participated in so many extracurricular activities that I was overwhelmed by the number of paths I could take.  Math and science were always intriguing to me in school. I was great in those subjects but had no clear path forward on what I wanted to do with them. My senior year in high school, my guidance counselor asked me to consider engineering based on my academics. To be honest, I lived in an area that didn't heavily push the STEM field, which was unfamiliar to me.  Exposure to the sciences came by my personal drive. So I blindly agreed with my counselor and never looked back!

During my sophomore year, in February actually, I decided to go to the engineering career fair with about an hour left. Companies were packing up, but I needed to circulate my resume. I spoke to a rep and to my surprise they took a chance on me as a sophomore. I started as an intern at the company I work for now. Based on relationship and work ethic, I was hired full time! Now I work as a Traffic Engineer where I provide transportation planning, traffic analysis and design for roadway projects locally in the DMV and across the US.   I also serve in ministry, taking courses through a local church. Accepting the call to ministry while working in a demanding field was never my intention. However, my faith is the driving force in all the decisions I make.

As a professional, I've found that the work in the STEM field has many opportunities to cross-pollinate disciplines and partner with other STEM professionals with the same passion. Getting involved in organizations is imperative to professional development and networking. Also, prior to graduation, I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but my passions slowly evolved as the field evolved. For example, I work in the transportation field within civil engineering. Projects I started out working on focused more on vehicles and few complete streets (multi-modal networks). Now my work heavily includes safety first for bicyclists, transit, pedestrians and now scooters! They are everywhere.