Rachel Coyle

Design Engineer I at Southland Industry

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The opportunities that you can have if you pursue STEM are limitless.

What do you do?

I work as a mechanical design engineer who specializes in designing HVAC systems (air conditioning and heating systems) for buildings. I coordinate with other building engineers and the construction team to ensure that my design does not clash with other traders. Overall, it is a very collaborative effort.

Why did you choose this field?

Back in high school, I enjoyed math and science, but knew I wanted a career that was hands on. I shadowed my dad’s cousin who is also an architectural engineer, and he showed me what a day in the life of a engineer in the building industry is like. After that, I knew I wanted to be an architectural engineer because of how much you collaborate with other people and how much time you spend away from your desk in the field.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Architectural Engineering, and the fall before I graduated, I had 8 job offers from around the country to choose from.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love working in STEM because of the people I get to interact every single day. I meet new people who teach me new things every day. I love that the learning never stops. My personal favorite part of my job is doing site walks. I get to see my designs that I put on paper come to life on the construction site. It is very gratifying.

Best advice for next generation?

The opportunities that you can have if you pursue STEM are limitless. While in college, I joined a lot of clubs because I enjoy being involved and building my leadership skills. Because of my involvement, I was able to travel to numerous cities for conferences (most of the time for free) such as Phoenix, AZ, Philadelphia, PA, Denver, CO, Austin, TX, Chicago, IL, to name a few. Traveling and meeting new people while exploring new cities was something J never imagined I would experience while in college.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“One cannot explore new oceans unless she has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -unknown

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