Since Jarlene Ninive graduated in 2018 with a BS in civil engineering, she’s not only designed and analyzed dams and hydraulic structures through her work as a Structural Engineer, or EIT, at HDR Inc., but has inspected these structures too.
As a bridge and dams inspector, Ninive has traveled around the country examining various types of bridges, culverts, spillways, radial gates, and dams.
“I show up to work every day ready to make a difference,” says Ninive. “What I enjoy the most about my job is knowing that my contributions keep the public safe.”
She credits her years at UB with cementing her passion for structural engineering and helping her build the professional networks that have led to her success. While at UB, Ninive was an active member of the National Society for Black engineers (NSBE) as well as a participant in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program.
“I was able to use the experience and knowledge I gained from my first internship experience, which was through the research program for LSAMP, to gain more opportunities in the structural engineering field, solidifying the path I wanted to take after I graduated,” reflects Ninive. “Ultimately, attending one of the NSBE conferences got me the connections to land the position I have now.”
What have you learned along the way that has helped prepare you for your current role as a Structural EIT (Hydraulics Structure Engineer) at HDR Inc.?
The most valuable lessons and skills that I’ve learned along the way are to listen, know how to work in a team (know your role), and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is important to remember that every project you work on is a collaborative effort.
Looking back, is there anything about your career that you’d change?
One thing I would probably change is waiting longer than a year after obtaining my bachelor’s degree to go for my master’s degree. I had plans to start school again after a year-long break, and I haven’t enrolled in a master’s program yet, but II still plan to.
Do you have any advice for aspiring black engineers?
Get involved in engineering clubs and programs to get better connected in the field you want a career in, go to office hours and get to know your professors, and go to career fairs. Along with academic skills, it is also very important to expand your network while in college since it can open doors to mentorship, internships and career opportunities.
What advice do you have for UB students?
Be open for opportunities outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to take a job in a different city if the role is something you want; nothing must be permanent- if you don’t end up liking the job you can always change things up.