Know your worth and never doubt it. You are meant to be here. Gain all the knowledge you can, because what you learn can never be taken from you.

Who is Ambria Quick?

Hi, my name is Ambria Quick. I am an introvert who has a passion for music, traveling, cooking, reading, financial literacy, mentoring, and learning. I was always the quiet girl in school who always had her nose in a book and her mind on her future. I am a Civil Engineer who has worked on everything from the Mission to Mars to offshore platforms and oil and gas storage tanks to water pipelines and lift stations.

I am originally from the small country town of Hamlet, North Carolina and I currently live in South Texas. I originally moved to Texas working as a Structural Field and Office Engineer fabricating and constructing Offshore Platforms. I absolutely loved working in steel fabrication and construction, and I miss it, but I recently transitioned to design work as I am working on obtaining my Professional Engineering license.

While working as a design engineer, I recently studied and passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and received my Engineer-In-Training certification after having graduated 2.5 years ago! So that was a major goal accomplished for me.

Educational Background

Engineer In Training Certification

Special Awards

I was awarded the Engineers In the Community award by the Corpus Christi’s Black Chamber of Commerce at their 75th Annual Business & Young Entrepreneurs Awards Banquet November 2018. I was also awarded during my internship at NASA during my 1st internship at Kennedy Space Center by my functional lead for my work ethic and ability to work autonomously in a complex work environment.

How did you choose to pursue this field?

As a little girl growing up I was always curious and interested in transportation, the environment, construction, how things were made, and so much more. After doing some research about civil engineering, I found out that civil engineering encompassed all of my interests into one career field. It was the perfect match!

Who was your inspiration or role model that guided you to this field?

My pastor’s daughter, at the time, had graduated from North Carolina A&T State University and was working at Bennett College as a professor and a coach (everyone calls her Coach). She always talked about the engineering program at NC A&T and introduced me to some of the engineering professors.

Did you always have the desire to work in this field? If not, what was your intended field? Why did you change careers?

Being from a small country town I did not grow up hearing about civil engineering or the engineering field in general. I was in my senior year of high school as an Army J.R.O.T.C. cadet when my sergeant told me that I had to have a degree to become an officer in the military. Prior to that conversation, I had my mind set on going into the army and not going to college at all. After the conversation, my plans changed. I did some research to see which degree would benefit me best in the military and came across architectural engineering and civil engineering. I also had a mentor from church who always spoke about North Carolina A&T’s engineering program. I chose to get my civil engineering degree at NC A&T and fell in love with the vast career field civil engineering has to offer.

What do you love most about your job?

I love being challenged. I’m able to push myself to utilize my own capabilities. I also love that I get to contribute to public health and safety by designing, constructing, and analyzing infrastructure that the public utilizes every day.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your job or career?

Being able to see the world and its infrastructure through a more in-depth lens has been rewarding for me. Through civil engineering, you not only see a pipe or a bridge or an airplane, you see the nuts and bolts, the loadings (such as wind load, rain load, weight, etc.), compressive forces, the material, and even the cost of those structures every time you see them. Being a civil engineer you have a more analytical and technical perspective of the entire infrastructure around you.

What things would you change about your job?

The lack of flexibility. One thing I learned about myself in college is that I am most productive late at night/early in the morning. It would be nice to work on my own schedule as well as work remotely. At times, being far away from home on my own makes me homesick. Working remotely and having flexible hours would be great!

What has been the most difficult or disappointing aspect of your job?

Lack of mentorship and resources. I work in a very small office, so a lot of resources that I was accustomed to having readily available in college and during my internships at larger companies aren’t available when you work for a smaller office. On the brighter side, it has pushed me to be more resourceful in obtaining information and to think critically which is key when working in the STEM industry.

How have you combated the stigma of being a “woman of color” in STEM?

Sadly, in nearly every internship and in every company that I have worked for full-time I have been the only black female engineer, and sometimes the only black engineer out of the entire district in the company or the entire company. It’s very isolating. I’ve found my own strength in being confident and owning who I am as a woman of color and in being a firm believer that representation matters. The most exhilarating times were when I debuted my natural kinky afro hair at work. I got looks and stares and then there were those who expressed how much they liked my hair. One other moment, I’ll never forget, I was 21 years old when I was at an open house with potential motor suppliers in Indianapolis. I walked in and the woman at the front desk was also a woman of color around my age at the time. The very first thing she said was “Are you an engineer!?”. I told her yes and she shook my hand and hugged me and mentioned that she had never seen a young black female engineer come into the warehouse. I was proud of both of us in that moment. Being a representative of my community in the STEM industry pushes me every single day.

What tips would you offer for anyone thinking about entering into your profession?

Seize every opportunity. It is a mantra I used in college as a reminder to push myself out of my comfort zone and out of my introversion to go grasp what I wanted. Without that mantra, I wouldn’t have had the many internships and scholarships, and built the connections I needed in order to explore, grow, learn, and succeed.

 

What advice would you give your younger self about your career journey as a “woman of color” working in a predominantly white, male-dominated field?

Know your worth and never doubt it. You are meant to be here. Gain all the knowledge you can, because what you learn can never be taken from you.

Can you provide some words of wisdom to young ladies thinking about entering a STEM field as a career choice?

The STEM industry is an exciting and vast industry. Do some research, participate in internships, and get a mentor to help you learn what you like and what you don’t like in order to find the career that fits you best in the STEM industry.

What is your favorite Quote? How do you apply this to your life?

“It sounds simple telling people to work hard and never quit, but to really execute and demonstrate those principles takes discipline and faith. Those are the two factors that I believe separate the good from the great; the successes from the failures.” – Nipsey Hussle.

I’ve been applying this quote to my daily life a lot because being unfocused is the worst enemy when accomplishing a goal. It’s too easy to become unfocused and unmotivated. This quote reminds me that it takes discipline and faith in order to be successful and to never quit.

What are your future goals related to your career?

I want to earn my professional engineering license and continue working as a design engineer and develop into the role of a project manager and/or construction manager. Outside of my job, I want to be able to network and mentor other engineers.

How has your family influenced your journey and provide support?

My parents are my biggest support system. I remember in college I had thought about changing my major, and my dad encouraged me. He said that even though engineering is challenging, “you’re good at it”. Because of those words, I decided to stick with civil engineering, I graduated with my degree and I do not regret it. I am forever thankful to my father for those words.

Contact Ambria Quick for any further questions:

My twitter and Instagram handle are @msambriaquick.

We hope you enjoyed learning about our latest “STEMsation”, please comment about how her experiences have inspired you, how your experiences can inspire others and nominate our next “STEMsation to spotlight their amazing accomplishments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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