Building her career

Name: Sarah Schulz

Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota

Academic path: Studying construction management in the College of Continuing Education

Scholarship: PCL Construction Scholarship aimed at increasing the number of women and minorities in the industry

Why she loves her field: Schulz developed an appreciation for construction projects from her father, a landscape architect. While driving around, he would point out projects he’d worked on—highways, retaining walls, bridges. “But I really like commercial buildings,” she says. Among her favorites: U.S. Bank Stadium and The Carlyle in Minneapolis.

Hands-on experience: As an intern and now a part-time project engineer with Parsons Electric in Minneapolis, she’s worked on two U of M projects—the new Bell Museum and the renovation of the Tate Laboratory of Physics. “I really enjoy being on site. That’s where the project comes to life.”

The road ahead: Schulz is aware that as a woman pursuing a career in commercial construction, she’s in the minority. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women occupy about 9 percent of construction jobs—a reality Schulz notices in the composition of her classes. “You have to wonder if you’ll be respected or if people will take you seriously,” she says, adding that she joined Toastmasters to network and hone her speaking skills.

Parting words: “More women are getting into construction. We bring a different set of skills, and people are realizing what assets we can be.”

Related stories

  • Contessa Boorman
    Scholarship recipient Contessa Boorman has studied in France, done improv comedy, and chronicled food-truck culture.
  • Ariel Garsow
    A fellowship in Africa drives a U student to confront world hunger.
  • Student in College of Design library
    Noah Exum is grateful for scholarships that allowed him to pursue his passion for interior design.
  • Student at piano
    Music relieves stress and brings people together, says communications major Henry Suong.