Sneha Adhikari is an engineer in Toole Design’s Boston office, although she grew up in the Toronto area and is glad to be part of Canadian Engineers Month!
When did you realize engineering was going to be your career…and was there a moment, an event, or a person that made an impression on that decision?
My dad is an engineer and the way he thinks has shaped me my whole life to an extent. I realized more clearly that this would be a career for me in high school while thinking about where I can have a larger scale impact on day-to-day life of people and communities. At university, I did an internship for a whole year at the City of Toronto where my focus was on pedestrian safety improvements. That experience was very positive, felt rewarding, and confirmed my interest in working in active transportation.
What’s the best part of being an engineer at Toole Design?
I have been at Toole for just over 1.5 years and the best part has been the people for sure! I moved from Toronto to Boston without knowing many people but felt accepted in the Boston office and beyond as I have gotten to collaborate with a lot of cool and passionate people company-wide. I am thankful for the support I have gotten as a young engineer to develop my skillset and for the effort that my colleagues have placed in ensuring that I learn more.
The theme for National Engineering Month this year is “There’s a place for you in engineering”…what that does mean to you?
To me, engineering is the balance between the details and bigger picture. As transportation engineers, our job is very rooted in “places” in terms of the physical details of street design, but it also has direct bigger picture impact on the places where people are living. As a result, engineering is a place for anyone who wants to do the detailed work that has important impacts on the communities we work to serve.
How do Toole Design’s values of Ethics, Equity, and Empathy influence your everyday work as an engineer?
I try to be intentional about thinking of the three E’s in all aspects of my work. Why do we prioritize some users in our street design? Can we do better than just following minimum standards? Who is missing from our community outreach process? What is the history of this community and how can we ensure that communities are represented in our design processes? These questions come up fairly often and it is something I seek out to understand the bigger picture. I think it’s great that Toole Design has acknowledged that we can do better and challenge the conventional engineering narratives by placing value in Ethics, Equity, and Empathy.