“Young engineers and scientists are not only smart and highly trained to solve problems of all types, they are also highly adaptive and hungry to put those skills to work. Young professionals possess unique skills and are being trained with cutting-edge technology and tools that allow us to arrive at the correct solution very quickly. They are largely removed from the many biases and sub-optimal solutions that have us currently trapped in a D- infrastructure condition rating. They seek pavements with better ride quality, longer performance, longer life and more sustainability — all at a lower cost to the taxpayer. They will propel technological advancements in paving materials never seen before. This is specifically what we strive to do here at Blacklidge and young professionals, like Amanda, are here making it happen right now. We are thrilled to have her.”
– Grover Allen, Ph.D., P.E., Blacklidge Technical Director
Upon completing her master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Mississippi State University, Amanda joined Blacklidge in January 2020 as our Materials Engineer. Amanda reflects on her experience and shares her thoughts on stepping into the asphalt industry.
What made you decide to go into the engineering/asphalt industry?
I started my undergraduate career at Mississippi State as an Industrial Engineering major but then switched to Civil Engineering to do more transportation work. However, I didn’t want to just sit behind a computer designing roads. I wanted to do something a bit more active and hands on.
So, that’s when I started working under Dr. Isaac Howard in the construction materials lab, making and testing asphalt mixes as a Research Assistant.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’m excited to be a part of the expanded laboratory capabilities at Blacklidge, which allows us to make and test more asphalt mixtures. By leveraging the new and enhanced testing capabilities, I hope to help Blacklidge develop a more comprehensive understanding of how our products can be used throughout the industry and create more innovative products.
What advice do you have for young women who may be interested in joining this field?
It can be intimidating to be one of the few women in the room and be one of the youngest people in the room. However, if asphalt is something that you like, there’s no reason to not do it just because you’re a little intimidated. That makes it more fun and exciting, and I’ve loved every minute of it!