Transportation Engineer: Stephanie Berman

Transportation Engineer: Stephanie Berman

Transportation engineer Stephanie Berman works on roadway projects in Connecticut.

Grades

6 - 12+

Subjects

Engineering, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Geography, Physical Geography

Stephanie is a transportation engineer for Fuss & O’Neill, an engineering firm in Manchester, Connecticut.

Stephanie’s job duties include conducting traffic signal studies, roadway-planning studies, and working on street improvement projects.

EARLY WORK

During her childhood in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Stephanie gravitated towards math and science. “I got the hang of math at a very young age, and I liked it,” she says. “I liked how you could always get just one answer. It’s not multiple, so you know if you are right or wrong.”

Stephanie discovered transportation engineering while working towards her degree in civil engineering at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. “As I took these classes, I realized I liked more of the ground aspect than the structural building aspect,” she says.

MOST EXCITING PART OF YOUR WORK

“It’s a new challenge every time. Not every project is the same. You have the same basic concepts, but there are different technical ways and different solutions to solve every problem.”

MOST DEMANDING PART OF YOUR WORK

“I would say that everything has to be technically correct, so we do a lot of work with AutoCAD and computer-aided software. Whatever you type in, the computer is going to produce, which makes everything a lot easier than hand work, but at the same time if you mistype or something doesn’t line up, you have to go back and rethink that solution.”

HOW DO YOU DEFINE GEOGRAPHY?

“Within engineering and what I do with transportation, land, and roadways, I would say it’s the type of ground that you are building upon.”

GEO-CONNECTION

Stephanie says that there is one particular aspect of her job that is tied closely to geography. “We do a lot of permitting, so if you are in a wetland, on the coast, or in a flood-hazard zone, those factors relate to geography,” she says.

According to Stephanie, looking at a region’s geography is essential when working on a roadway. “When you are building something say in the middle of a mountain, you have to slope the road so it [the water] drains off the road and doesn’t pond right into the middle of the center,” she says.

Stephanie’s firm has a new tool for field work that utilizes geographic information system (GIS) technology. “The camera has a GPS compass that is compatible with Google Earth,” she says. “You can take a picture in the field, come back to the office, upload the pictures, and then import them to Google Earth, where they will show up at the exact locations in which they were taken. This helps us greatly in the field, especially when we do roadway studies for roadway segments that are miles in length.”

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A . . . TRANSPORTATION ENGINEER

Attend a public hearing in your area. “[Meetings are] open to the public if they are having a new roadway or school built or something,” Stephanie says. “They give a whole presentation on what’s going to happen. You can ask questions and listen to what other people have to say.”

GET INVOLVED

Stephanie recommends getting a tour of an engineering or architectural firm to learn about engineering.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Writer
Stuart Thornton,
Editors
Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing
Kara West,
Producer
National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. She or he will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.

Media

If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.

Text

Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.

Interactives

Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.

Related Resources