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Transportation Engineer Jianhong Wang, PE Helps Mold the Next Generation of Engineers

By Anthony Marsilio

When you talk with engineer Jianhong Wang you can feel how much she loves her work. “I don’t think I could pick a favorite aspect of my work; I enjoy it all,” said Wang in a recent interview. With eleven years of experience, she joined Tighe & Bond three years ago and expressed how quickly she was able to settle into her role, “I feel comfortable here. The people in our offices are always willing to help each other.”

Wang is a Senior Engineer who spends her time working on transportation and traffic projects out of Tighe & Bond’s Shelton, Connecticut office. She’s quick to talk about the impact of transportation and traffic engineering, highlighting two nearby traffic signals she designed that were approved and implemented by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT). “When you design and make recommendations that eventually become reality, it’s very satisfying,” explained Wang.

She moved here from China with a degree in Urban Planning, but her path changed when she applied to graduate school. “I thought about how I wanted to apply the real-life problem-solving skills I had,” she said. “So I applied to the Transportation Engineering program at UCONN.” This decision was a pivotal moment Wang claims really molded her career.

As Wang continues to shape her path as an engineer, she is observing an increase in programs in countless fields of study, that help the next generation explore science-based careers. “It’s always encouraging to see more girls become involved. I know my son is definitely interested in the field, but even my daughter, who is too young to really know yet, says she wants to be an engineer!” exclaimed, Wang.

She has been a part of this educational outreach and witnessed its direct impact on the future of girls and young women pursuing engineering. A Board Member of the Connecticut Chapter of Women in Transportation Seminar, Wang recalls all the student events they organize annually, “We have programs for elementary and middle school students, including summer camps and career nights, that are very well received.”

The committee is active with students of all ages and even has a mentorship program for young professionals. “It’s a really great program where experienced engineers offer their time to help young adults navigate their choices and the field of engineering,” explained Wang. She speaks from personal experience as Wang herself was a young student who took advantage of this same mentorship program.

While she has experienced many successes, she is also candid about her challenges as a Chinese American in the workforce, “It’s something I continue to work on, the language barrier, but it’s just another part of my day.” But Wang notes that the mentorship and career track options offered to her at Tighe & Bond have enabled her to receive career guidance and continue moving forward. “You aren’t expected to be perfect. You can make the choice between the technical or management path, but still develop yourself within both,” said Wang. She went on to say these career track policies are partly what contributes to the nature of the work that has come across her desk, exclaiming “We work on a large variety of projects. It really keeps me interested!”

As Wang balances all the moving parts of being a seasoned Transportation Engineer while providing opportunities for the next generation she echoes the importance of loving the work that you do. “You must find what you’re passionate about. You have to like and be happy doing your work!”