Three years ago, Krysta Swartz, of Caseyville, Illinois, graduated from high school and earned an associate degree from her local community college at the same time. She recently walked across the commencement stage again — this time with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T.
“I always knew I wanted to study engineering, but it wasn’t until I toured S&T that I realized my passion was in civil engineering,” she says. “As a civil engineer, you can see buildings, bridges and infrastructure and know how drastically your work impacts society.”
Swartz says that potential to directly affect the world is what drives her passion as an engineer.
“This field has a creative element, but it ultimately all relates to problem solving,” she says. “I am excited to get to work. A major goal for me is to eventually design bridges for big river crossings with large spans.”
She didn’t have to wait long to get to work. After graduation, Swartz started work in Great River Engineering’s St. Louis office. Her focus is the structural design of culverts and bridges.
She says she’s ready for the challenge.
“Missouri S&T has helped prepare me with my classes and hands-on experiences,” she says. “Being on a design team also made a huge difference.”
As president of the university’s Steel Bridge Design Team, Swartz recently led the team to its fifth consecutive regional championship. Last year, she was the lead fabricator and guided the team through the process of welding the bridge.
“Thanks to the design team, I was able to learn about welding and machining, and I can now better understand shop drawings,” she says. “Being on the design team, combined with my internships, has really helped prepare me for what a real engineering job will entail.”
Swartz was also an S&T student ambassador, an officer in S&T’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of Chi Epsilon International Civil Engineering Honor Society. She says students have nothing to fear when taking hands-on roles for design teams.
“If there is something you are interested in doing, don’t be afraid to jump right in,” she says. “Nobody will look down on you, so just be confident and know that you’re capable.”
To learn more about S&T’s civil engineering programs, visit care.mst.edu.