Defining a Passion for Engineering (and More Math)
SGH Consulting Engineer Lauren Stenroos talks about her switch to engineering in college, new skills she wants to learn, and the best career advice she ever receieved.
When did you first want to become an engineer?
It was during my sophomore year of college. In high school, I wanted to be an architect, so I started as an architecture major. I realized I needed more math, so I switched to structural engineering. I found that it gave me a better balance of math and problem-solving as well as design, so I got to keep that art aspect, but in a more technical way.
What is a skill you would like to learn?
Probably picking up a language. I took French in high school, so maybe learning French again or getting back into playing the piano.
What is your favorite project you've worked on at SGH?
A renovation project we did on Newbury Street. It was a full replacement of the interior framing while preserving the historic brick facade. My role was to help design the gravity and lateral system of the building and the addition. We had a very limited footprint and needed to maintain as much of the livable space as possible. It was challenging, but a lot of fun to work on.
If you could travel on vacation right now to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Any national park. My fiancé and I are trying to see all of them, and we’ve only done four so far. We’re going to visit a few more next year, probably in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. We’re also planning to go to Hawaii for our honeymoon, so we’ll see the ones there, too.
I really like to solve problems. Figuring something out and seeing the model turn green or equation work out at the end is very satisfying to me. That gives me a lot of motivation at work.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
It was from my dad. When I was applying to colleges, he told me to find my passion. He said if you find your passion, that will lead to motivation, which will lead to success. I’ve never forgotten that.
What is a college class that still comes in handy?
Any of the material classes. My timber class sticks out to me because of how practical it was. We went through the code and learned what the equations meant and how to use them.
What would you consider your strongest area of expertise?
I think doing calculations and analyzing models. I just enjoy doing calculations a lot.
What is one goal you are currently working toward?
I would like to qualify for the Boston Marathon one day. I ran my first marathon a couple of weeks ago. I’m not even close to qualifying for Boston yet, but maybe in a few years!
Facts + Stats
Book I’m currently reading: I’m (slowly) working my way through the Game of Thrones book series
TV show I’m currently binging: Stranger Things. I just finished the new season!
My passion outside of work: I used to want to be a pastry chef, so I still do a lot of baking in my free time.