This year’s challenges didn’t stop 2021’s graduates from taking their degrees to new heights. After graduating from Texas A&M this year with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Rushali Sarkar now works in Austin as a project engineer in the construction industry and has a plethora of responsibilities. “My role consists of making sure that everything is going smoothly on the jobsite which could mean ensuring that everyone knows what our targets and plans are,” Sarkar said. “This also includes being the go to person for questions, last minute changes, and also being responsible for everything going on in the project.”
While studying and attending classes at Texas A&M, Sarkar gained the engineering knowledge she needed for her current job. “I truly did learn a lot,” she said. “While the workload for Mechanical Engineering is very large and can be exhausting at times, all of my classes allowed me to understand how to understand engineering concepts and how to learn about complex topics. In short, I learned how to think like an engineer.” Sarkar’s favorite classes were the ones that were most applicable to her career plan. “My most enjoyable classes were the modeling classes using SolidWorks, as those courses were all about reverse engineering and breaking down complex concepts by working them backwards,” Sarkar said. “This part of engineering is something that I use often at work and also in my personal life pursuing professional and personal goals.”
For Sarkar, career fairs were crucial to securing her current position. “I landed my internship at the TAMU Engineering Career fair which eventually led me to my full-time job now,” she said. However, it wasn’t only the career fair that helped Sarkar get the job. “It was the tenacity and eagerness to learn which I picked up at Texas A&M that landed me my first job.” In addition to her coursework, Sarkar was a part of the Institute for the Development and Education of Asian American Leaders (IDEAAL) “My major gave me my technical knowledge, however, my organizations gave me a sense of greater belonging and purpose on campus,” Sarkar said. “IDEAAL was a major part of my college career and has shaped me into the person and leader I am today. Going from being a lost freshman mentee to being the Executive Director of 40+ people was such an amazing opportunity to learn about true leadership and social justice for the Asian American community and it continues to affect me to this day.”
Through IDEAAL, Sarkar gained confidence and a new understanding of diversity and inclusion. “With the knowledge I gained from IDEAAL, I was able to navigate my journey of being an Indian Immigrant Woman in an industry dominated by older white men,” she said. “I am still learning how to use my voice and how to be who I am in a professional field, however I find comfort in knowing that I have a solid foundation of self respect and confidence that I gained from my time in IDEAAL.” However, when Sarkar entered the construction field, she discovered the extent of the work that still needs to be done when it comes to diversity. “It is difficult to not notice and be affected by the lack of diversity and inclusion in the construction field because it is isolating to feel alone when you are the only one who understands what you have been through and continue to go through,” Sarkar said. “The construction industry is one of the slowest growing industries in the US, not only with technological advancement but also with the diversity of the people who make it up.”
Sarkar became motivated to help other people of color as a result of her experience in the industry. “It is very easy to see the divide between leadership and the construction workers with the majority of the leadership being white,” she said. “As someone who is a person of color, this motivates me to reach out to those who have a language barrier or need support in their work. Sarkar reaches out for help and helps her fellow people of color as well. “I reach out to other women and people of color in this industry and ask for advice and mentorship on navigating my role but also my own personal growth,” Sarkar said. “I also try to serve as a mentor for those who are trying to enter the industry by educating them on what to expect and how to handle responsibilities at work.”
Rushali Sarkar’s time at A&M and her current job has given her new perspectives on the industry and the importance of diversity. Visit diversity.tamu.edu for diversity resources.
We encourage you to participate in the “Power of Diversity”, a month-long Diversity & Inclusion career development series hosted in partnership with the department of multicultural services. Register for events and learn more at tx.ag/thepowerofdiversity .
To use the career resources Texas A&M provides for its current and former students, visit our website at careercenter.tamu.edu or make an appointment at tx.ag/ccappointment. Your future starts now!