Women in Engineering: An Interview with Susan Marshall

Women in Engineering: An Interview with Susan Marshall

Engineering is for everyone. RPA Engineering is proud to empower Women in Engineering and hopes to inspire future generations of women in STEM. Through this series, we celebrate engineering professionals in a collection of interviews with engineers, designers, and project managers.

This month we interviewed Susan Marshall, a designer, here at RPA Engineering.

What is your job title and area of research/work?

I am a Senior Plumbing and Fire Protection Designer.

What is your role at RPA?

I am a plumbing and fire protection system designer working mostly in the facilities engineering group.

How or why did you choose engineering as a career path/area of study?

When I was in 8th grade, I had to take a Mechanical Drawing Class for a quarter and I loved it. I went to Berks Vo-Tech West in high school for Architectural Drafting. After high school, I went on to Lincoln Technical Institute in Allentown and received an Associate’s Degree in Architectural Drafting and Design.

What inspires you about Engineering?

I just really enjoy the drafting and design of the different types of systems. There’s always something different depending on the architect and type of facility.

What challenges do women face in the Engineering professions or academia?

I honestly can’t say that I have ever been treated any different than any of my male coworkers. I’ve been lucky to work for a great company who values everyone’s work.

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

Definitely not some of the deadlines! I most enjoy working on the design documents, whether AutoCAD or 3D modeling in Revit.

What does a typical day in your job involve?

A typical day involves designing and modeling in Revit (although some days I still work in AutoCAD), attending project meetings, field work, sizing and selecting fixtures and equipment, submittal reviews and answering RFIs during the construction phase of project.

What are your hopes for the future of Engineering?

I hope that people coming into the field enjoy what they do and know that there are so many different types of engineering. You can always move to a different area of engineering until you find your fit. It’s a very diverse field.

What would you say to young women in school/college who may be considering Engineering as a career choice?

Anyone who enjoyed math and the sciences in school would enjoy the engineering fields. It’s always changing, and you get a lot of satisfaction out of providing your piece of the puzzle.

What is your favorite kind of engineering problem to solve?

Trying to fit all the piping, along with ductwork, lights and conduit above a ceiling. Everything that makes a facility work is either in a mechanical room, concealed above the ceiling, in walls or below the floor that people just don’t see. 

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