Blog & Events
Engineer Spotlight: Jessica McLarty
September 8, 2014
Jessica McLarty, an Associate and Senior Project Manager at engineering firm JQ, has nine years of direct engineering experience under her belt. An architectural engineer by training, much of her work has focused on institutional projects, specifically educational. Jessica has worked on numerous higher ed campuses and projects, recently serving as Project Manager for multiple buildings on the Texas A&M University Central Texas campus in Killeen.
Jessica has successfully completed many projects in the state of Texas and surrounding areas including, Higher Education Swim & Fitness Center, various Churches, Multi-Family Residential Complexes, Higher Education Housing Facilities, Higher Education Buildings, various Commercial Buildings, and several City of Austin Projects. Read on to find out what Jessica shares with us about her engineering role!
How did you choose engineering?
I always was interested in math and science, and was generally pretty good at it. I started out in Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M, I did not have the GPA required to move to the upper level so I switched to civil engineering with an emphasis in structural engineering. After I graduated with my BS I determined that I did not have enough coursework and continued with a Master in Civil Engineering with a Structural emphasis.
What is or was your favorite thing about being an engineering student?
Learning all the different things, and meeting so many different types of people.
Share any stories, advice, or recommendations around co-ops, internships or research experiences during college:
I do not participate in any of these and I regret that. You can only learn so much while you are in school, so any experiences you have working during college make you more valuable to your future employers.
Aside from classes, what activities during your high school years or during college prepared you for majoring in engineering and/or for a career in engineering?
I was in Band and Junior Classical League. Being involved with different activities helped me learn how to manage several things at one time.
What are your hobbies? How do you manage having time for your hobbies and your engineering school work or job?
My hobbies are spending time with my family in the outdoors and just living life. I have 2 kids age 6 and 1.5, they pretty much take up all the free time I have outside of work. They are worth every minute of the hard work, and I wouldn't change it for the world. You have to just make the time, if you don't, you won't be able to enjoy your hobbies. I schedule my hobbies just like I schedule everything else. This way I keep track of who I am and what my priorities are.
What advice do you have for high school girls looking at engineering programs or college students enrolled in engineering programs?
Learn as much as you can about the field you are looking into. The more you know, the better a decision you can make. Stick up for yourself and what you believe. Try to take advantage, in some way of every opportunity you are given.
Describe any failures or things you perhaps had to overcome or make it through in order to get to where you are today?
I have to try and let go about the fact that I am a female engineer and focus more on the fact that I am an engineer first and foremost. I have the same education, if not more of an education, of most men I meet in my field. I try to be known for what I bring to the project and what I can do. I do a lot of things to prove that I am just as good as the male engineers. This gives me serious motivation to be better.
What is your favorite part of being an engineer or majoring in engineering? Why is it awesome?
I love watching the building take shape. It is amazing to go to a site visit and see your design being built. This brings me more satisfaction then I ever could imagine, it also makes all that hard work worth it!