Lindsey Lockhart knows a great opportunity when she sees one. Lockhart, a civil engineering major at the University of Kentucky, set her eyes on a career in engineering at a young age, and she hasn’t looked away since.
A Construction Family
Lockhart, who is originally from Pikeville, Kentucky, grew up in a family of construction.
“Every male on my dad’s side of the family is in construction,” Lockhart said. “I was around it my whole life, so I grew up comfortable with construction.”
Lockhart’s exposure to construction didn’t necessarily mean construction was her obvious path forward out of high school. Although she was comfortable with construction, she didn’t quite see herself working with the same machinery and on the same jobs as her family. But, she knew enough about herself to know that she wanted to study something with math–and that the medical field was not going to be her future, but engineering might be.
Although Lockhart’s talent in mathematics was helpful, she was driven to explore engineering by something much more personal than equations.
“My grandfather studied to become a civil engineer, but he stopped one class away from attaining his civil engineering degree,” Lockhart said. “I wanted to be able to finish what he started.”
Lockhart knew that simply choosing civil engineering because of her grandfather might not make sense, so she began to explore opportunities within engineering early in her studies. During a summer break, Lockhart applied for an internship with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. She spent the summer months learning about transportation and its connection to civil engineering, and she was hooked. Lockhart hasn’t looked back since.
“My family is extremely supportive and proud,” Lockhart said. “My PawPaw always told me that the one class he didn’t finish for his engineering degree was public speaking, and I’m happy to report that I’ve already passed that class!”
Choosing the Civil Engineering Path
Lockhart is currently in her sophomore year at the University of Kentucky, but she will have enough credits to graduate next year. She’ll have the opportunity to go straight into the workforce once she passes the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. After she earns four straight years of field experience, she will be a professional engineer. Lockhart earned a scholarship from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and as a result, she will serve within that department for four years after graduation.
“I’ll likely be on jobs with my family across Pike County as I get my field experience, and that’s pretty fun to think about,” Lockhart said.
Lockharts grades and achievements in school have earned recognition from many organizations, including The Future Contractors Scholarship and a scholarship from Kentucky Highway Industries.
As for being a woman in a primarily male industry? It is, in many ways, a challenge Lockhart happily accepts.
“In my engineering classes, I’m usually one of three or four females,” Lockhart said. “It’s definitely a minority, but in a lot of ways I actually feel more respected by my peers when they learn I’m a female in engineering. Within my classes, every now and again I have to work a little harder and have to support my ideas more before they’re taken seriously, but it hasn’t held me back.”
The Potential of Careers in Construction
Lockhart is set to graduate on time, and she is excited to build her future with support from her family. And she has words of advice to other young people considering their own road ahead.
“This is a great industry for earning money,” Lockhart said. “It’s one of the highest paying four-year degrees. And for construction in general? Workers are out on these jobs making really good money. If you want to go to college, consider civil engineering. If college isn’t for you, construction is a great way to go.”
To learn more about careers in the construction industry, explore I Build America – Kentucky’s website and follow our social media channels for how to get started.