Our Stewart family consists of a diverse and vibrant team of professionals. One of our shining stars is Nicolette Bryan. Nicolette started with Stewart as a student intern while she was in college. After graduating, she was promoted to the full-time position of structural engineering intern. We recently sat down with Nicolette to learn more about her career path and her experience at Stewart.
Nicolette, you’re a recent graduate. What college or university did you attend, and what was your major?
I went to the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and I’m still living in Columbia. I just graduated in December, but I was a student intern with Stewart before that, and I started working here full-time right after graduation. My major was civil engineering, and now I’m a structural engineering Intern.
Would you share a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to choose your profession?
I’ve always been a math person, always just loved math and physics. So I was like, “Okay, I have to do something with that!” I had heard about civil engineering and decided to choose that as my major, because it sounded like it might fit—and it did! I got really lucky that I chose something that worked out. Over a few years of studying, it became clear that structural was the area I was best at and found the most interesting.
That’s great that you found your niche in structural! So, what do you enjoy most about working at Stewart?
The teamwork is really nice, especially since we haven’t been able to see each other in person (due to the pandemic). It’s cool that Stewart does so many (virtual) meetings and updates. It feels like everyone’s united.
Do you feel that your teammates here at Stewart have helped you grow within your profession? And if so, how have they helped you grow?
Yes, definitely! I mean, I’m so new at this, and I feel like there’s still a thousand things I don’t know. It’s cool that there’s a wealth of knowledge I can pull from—a pool of experts for anything that I have a question about; I can just go directly to an expert and get answers quickly. That’s the best.
Has your experience during the internship—and now in your full-time position—influenced or impacted the direction in which you hope to take your career?
It’s definitely been a confidence boost in my career knowing that I have a solid foundation and can network and meet so many people. It’s not scary going into a new career when you have so many people behind you and a company that you’re comfortable with and that supports you.
What three words would you use to describe the culture at Stewart?
I would say “teamwork.” And also “social,” because we’re always staying connected with each other, and Stewart has a lot of ways to facilitate people being social, which is nice. Also, “accountability.” We have a team meeting every morning, so everyone’s always checking in with one another. And I’ve been given more responsibility than I have in the past, so I know that people are counting on me to do a good job. So yes, there’s a lot of accountability and trust in your teammates, that they’re going to do good work for you.
You studied engineering in school. Now that you are actually working in the industry, is there anything that has surprised you?
Something that’s really surprised me, honestly, is how things can change at the last minute, and that doesn’t mean you get shown mercy on your deadlines. I haven’t really had to deal with that yet, because I’m still an intern, but I’ve observed how my boss and coworkers sometimes have to deal with last-minute changes to a project, and it can seem daunting to keep up with deadlines.
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
I love to do art. I’m a huge crafter. I pretty much do that all the time. I’m basically a serial crafter. By the time I order crafting supplies and they come in, I’ve already moved on to the next project. I love nature, love art, love crafting.
At Stewart we have a tradition of celebrating Pi Day in March. So, what’s your favorite kind of pie?
Oh . . . any of the berries, like blueberry. Probably blueberry . . . cherry.
Blueberry cherry? In one pie? I’ve never heard of that!
(Laughs.) I meant blueberry or cherry. But that would probably be amazing. I’ll have to try that next!