ExpertiseConstruction, Design, Project Management
WES Top 50 Women in Engineering 2022
ICE and Balfour Beatty Student Innovator of the Year 2017
Hemsley Orrell Partnership Award 2017
A day in my life
No two days are the same and tasks can vary depending on a project’s requirements.
I typically start the week with a review of my diary and several meetings with the team to coordinate the work.
We agree the priorities for the week and keep an eye on any potential issues that may arise.
My role involves focusing on the technical and multi-disciplinary design delivery and ensuring that the design is delivered to programme and budget.
I hadn’t realised how collaborative engineering is until I joined the industry. Working together helps us challenge ourselves, achieve more and get things done faster and safer.
Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?
My family and teachers played a big part in my decision to become a civil engineer.
I was exposed to the fast paced and dynamic world of construction at a young age.
Growing up in several different countries, I was inspired by the fascinating structures that made up the fabric of a city and was impressed by how building styles varied and evolved from one city to another.
Skylines were constantly changing, and engineers were constantly pushing the boundaries to create innovative structures. I wanted to be a part of it.
We asked Sarah…
I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…
I would recommend a career in civil engineering because it’s so varied.
It allows you to make positive contributions to society by using your problem solving skills to make a tangible difference in people’s lives.
What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?
Every day will be different and the projects we work on will improve people’s lives.
What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?
Civil engineering is a real team effort.
I hadn’t realised how collaborative engineering is until I joined the industry.
Working together helps us challenge ourselves, achieve more and get things done faster and safer.
What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego? How long did it take you?
A metre-long Lego arch bridge. Took me around three days to build.
Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?
I wish I’d worked on the Brooklyn Bridge which was the first suspension bridge to use steel in its cables. It was also the longest in the world at the time of its construction.
Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.
That engineers spend all day in the mud wearing hard hats and high-vis jackets.
Engineering is an incredibly diverse and creative career. Depending on what you enjoy and where you want to work, there will be a role that will suit you.
While you may be required to wear safety gear on occasion, it’s not all about getting your hands dirty and you have the ability to shape your career in whatever direction you want to go.
Sarah's career path
- For my A-Levels I studied maths, physics, biology and chemistry I went to the University of Brighton and graduated with a bachelor’s in civil engineering.
- While at university I completed a year in industry at Southern Water and a summer placement at Balfour Beatty. I then completed a master’s in civil engineering at UCL.
- I joined SNC-Lavalin Atkins as a graduate engineer in 2018 and worked on a wide range of transportation projects.
- In 2022, I joined Arup as a project manager and I have been working on HS2.
- East West Rail
- High Speed 2