(WKBN) – A Youngstown State University alumna is taking her engineering skills from college to outside the country, and she hopes to inspire other women with her journey.
Sara O’Kane, a graduate of Poland High School and a 2018 graduate of YSU, is part of a big project. She now lives in Houston, Texas, and is working as a civil engineer at Traylor Bros. Inc.
The company is sending her overseas to work with a nonprofit group called Bridges to Prosperity, and she’s part of the fourth team to go.
“When I go the call that I was one of the people who was going to get to go, I was like, ‘Oh, wait! Now this is actually real,'” says O’Kane.
O’Kane will take her engineering skills to Rwanda in Central Africa on Sept. 29. Her team will build a bridge over an impassable river.
“Having this bridge there will ensure that they have a safe crossing to get to things, like to go see the doctor and go get food,” says O’Kane.
O’Kane says this bridge will help about 1,900 community members. She says she couldn’t do any of this without the support of her family — especially going into a STEM-related field.
“Really just having a good support system from the start is what really helped me,” she says.
According to O’Kane, her graduating class in the engineering department was primarily men. She knows it a male-dominated field as well, but she has some words of advice for those studying in any type of STEM program.
“So, just keep believing in themselves because they … can really do anything that they put their minds to. And it’s always nice to have more females in the industry,” says O’Kane.
She hopes this will inspire young girls to get into the industry.
She says she has everything planned for the trip.