Nao Nishio

What is your educational background?

BS and MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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

Canadian National (CN) Railway; Intermodal Development Engineer

In 2-3 sentences please describe your current role.

In my current role I assist with the expansion of our intermodal terminals by reviewing designs that will improve our operation. I support our forecasting and infrastructure improvements with data analytics.

Why should women think about a career in rail?

Regardless of your background, railroaders know when to support each other. You don’t have to be an expert in one area when you start because usually there is someone in your organization that specializes in that area and often time he or she is eager to learn from you.

How did you end up working in the rail industry?

The lecture from Dr. Chris Barkan at the University of Illinois encouraged me to conduct research in the rail industry, which led me to an internship at CN.

Can you talk about how the role of women in rail has changed in the past 5 years and your predictions for the future?

I see more women leaders and resources/guidance in the rail industry.

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

Before making too many assumptions in your head, seek guidance and ask questions. Not a technical answer, but this approach helped me work smarter in this industry.

(This interview was conducted in 2021.)

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