Anusha Suryanarayanan

What is your educational background?

I have a graduate degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on Railroad Engineering from University of Illinois.

Where are you currently employed and what is your job title?

WSP, USA. Senior Consultant – Transit & Rail

In 2-3 sentences please describe your current role.

As a transit and rail consultant my work is divided in two main categories –

  • The first is doing track design or design reviews for transit agencies and railroads.
  • The second is project management. My role is to coordinate between multiple stakeholders on a project and ensure that the project moves along safely and efficiently from conception to construction.

Why should women think about a career in rail?

The rail industry is rapidly growing and evolving and can provide wide range of opportunities for women to showcase their technical abilities and leadership skills.

How did you end up working in the rail industry?

I have been interested in trains since I was a child. During my junior year, I was looking for options to pursue a graduate degree and came across RailTEC at University of Illinois. During my graduate degree, I had the opportunity to intern with WSP USA (Parsons Brinckerhoff back then) and haven’t looked back since then.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy working on design challenges that vary with each project, location and agency. Working together as a team and coming up with solutions is a great way to learn and grow. Working on different projects has also taught me the value of interpersonal skills.

What advice would you give to women trying to break into engineering and technology fields?

The transportation industry is transforming and looking for new leaders who can bring new values and ideas to the table. Involve yourself in professional organizations at your school and remember to always network, network, & network!

(This interview was conducted in 2021.)

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