School of Arts and Sciences

PennDOT Promotes 2013 Civil Engineering Technology Alumna

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pictured is Brandy Miller, a 2013 civil engineering technology alumna and engineer trainee for PennDOT. | Photo by Jim Judkis

Meet Brandy Miller

"Point Park University provided high quality classes and instruction, and the best schedule for a working woman with a family."

- Brandy Miller



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Job Title: Civil Engineer Trainee
Employer:
PennDOT Engineering District 11
Degrees earned:
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Technology, Point Park University; Associate in Science degrees in civil engineering technology, architectural drafting and design, and computer-aided drafting and design, Community College of Allegheny County
Graduated: 2013 and 2002
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Now living in:
West Mifflin, Pa.
Hobbies/interests: Girl Scout troop leader and service unit manager, West Mifflin elementary cheerleading coach and bicycle riding

Why did you decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology?

Being in a career that impacts my community was an important factor in my choice. I felt that a civil engineering career would be rewarding and provide a service to my community. With the competition high for obtaining civil engineering positions that require technical skills and vast knowledge, I knew I needed to earn my bachelor's degree to stand out in the crowd. 

Why did you choose Point Park?

Point Park University provided high quality classes and instruction, and the best schedule for a working woman with a family. I also heard previous to starting at Point Park that the professors had worked in the industry and offered students valuable information for the real world. Additionally, Point Park accepted a majority of my credits from CCAC and has highly knowledgeable staff in the administration offices.

What factors led you to being promoted at PennDOT?

Previously, I worked as a transportation construction inspector supervisor for PennDOT for four years.  But, without a bachelor's degree in civil engineering technology, I did not qualify for the position of civil engineer trainee. I had previously taken time off of school to have a family and the longer I waited to return and get my bachelor's degree, the longer I was missing out on a huge promotion. Point Park University had the evening classes I needed to move forward in my career. Immediately after graduating, I qualified for the civil engineer trainee position and was interviewing within a few months!

How do you incorporate what you learned at Point Park into your current position?

The University has so many hands-on laboratory classes in civil engineering, from concrete testing to creating your own concrete mix design, soils testing and fluids equipment, and the latest software used at popular businesses in the industry. Dr. Garson and Professor Reed were always available on campus to assist with technical questions. The civil engineering technology program at Point Park covered all the different types of civil engineering including environmental, geotechnical, structural and development of water resources. By learning these concepts in such a thorough manner, it made me feel confident I could pursue any of these different disciplines.

On a day-to-day basis, I utilize the organizational techniques I learned for prioritizing my time and the professional technical presentation skills to successfully communicate on the job. Also, Point Park provided me with the assets needed to analyze a situation and create an approach to success. 

Describe the teaching style of Point Park’s engineering technology professors.

The teaching style encourages students to think for themselves. The professors outline a “thought process” so that the knowledge you have acquired is solidified when you are completing the course work. Also, when you are taking exams you have confidence that no matter how unusual the problem presented is, you can handle it. 

What advice do you have for our engineering technology students?

Keep an open mind to the different parts that are required to create a great final product. Sometimes we take classes that don’t seem to fit into our ultimate career goal. For example, taking a world cultures course when obtaining an engineering degree. Remember to evaluate how these other courses can enrich your life and way of thinking. Being the best all-around person you can be will benefit your career.

What are your career goals?

My future goals are to obtain my Fundamentals of Engineering Certification and Professional Engineers License and continue working for PennDOT. PennDOT has the best training program and career opportunities. Working on heavy highway projects from beginning to end is an eye-opening experience and PennDOT can provide you with these experiences.

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