Women in STEM is a series of posts highlighting the women who work in STEM at RPA. This post profiles Samantha Chiste, Project Manager.
Samantha Chiste is a Project Manager. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Six Sigma from Penn State University. She also received her MBA from Penn State. In her role as a project manager, she oversees the progress of many projects. Her responsibilities include verifying the delivery of purchase orders, ensuring adherence to project schedules, and overall project oversight to keep milestones on track. She also develops proposals, creates scopes of work for bidding & construction, and prepares risk evaluations. Samantha’s favorite part of the job is completing a project! She loves the satisfaction of having everything installed and working correctly for a client’s project. Her least favorite part of the job is when there is a requirement for a design change during a project. This can cause changes to budgets, lead times, and project completion deadlines, and very rapidly change the course of the project. Samantha wants all of her projects to be delivered in a timely and completed form.
Samantha was inspired to pursue engineering because she excelled at math and science in high school. She particularly enjoyed chemistry. She considered pursuing a chemical engineering degree , however decided to study industrial engineering. Industrial engineering appealed more to her interests of working with materials and the business side of engineering rather than the design side of engineering that would be more applicable to a chemical engineer.
Samantha enjoys traveling. She loves being at the beach. She also enjoys expressing her creative side through paint and wheel-thrown pottery. Golfing is another activity she enjoys doing for fun.
Samantha’s advice to girls considering a career in STEM is to “really take your time to learn about the different engineering disciplines, and to figure out which one you like the most. There are so many different options. See if you can talk with some engineers to gain a perspective on their day-to-day.” Samantha also recognizes the importance of speaking up and being confident in oneself. Assertiveness also reinforces that women belong in the room and are valuable to the team. Samantha thinks that women can support each other by speaking up if someone talks over another woman in a meeting. She also suggests being sure to use positive reinforcement and give other women credit for a job well done. In addition, women can be mentors and role models to more junior women engineers.