Business, Editor's Choice, Featured

Episode 23 – Krystal Chanda of A&E Engineering

Posted: May 23, 2019 at 6:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Path to Engineering

Krystal Chanda married young and started a family. She had no idea that her reality would turn into her nightmare and her idea of her family would have to be redefined. After enduring an abusive marriage she said, “I knew I wasn't the only victim, that my kids were also victims and we all needed to get out of the relationship.” She felt the responsibility of having to provide for her children but wasn't sure what she was going to do. Knowing that schooling would be a part of that plan she tapped into community resources at the Center for New Directions and took an assessment to see what career would be the best fit.

The top 5 best matches for her interests were all engineering. She had always loved math and science but wasn't sure if engineering included driving trains or exactly what it was. After learning more about it she decided engineering was going to be her future.

“What surprised me was to walk into a classroom and be the only female in the room,” she said. Even with that being the environment she never felt like she didn't belong. She said the professors were always very supportive of her and even let her kids come to class with her when necessary.

Addressing Sterotypes

Krystal tells about one of her favorite stories where she was working on the Chubbuck sewer interceptor. One day she was working on construction supervision where a gentleman whose property was adjacent approached her. She was nervous as to what his intentions were, thinking he was going to yell at her for the construction mess. She introduced herself and what her role was and he said, “well congratulations.” That stuck with her because he recognized what she was doing as a profession and not her gender. She said sometimes she shares where she works and is often asked if she is the secretary. She's working to help individuals and the community get past the stereotypes that inhibit girls from going into the field.

“We tell kids from the very beginning they can be anything they want to be but then our actions don't always show that,” Krystal said. Based on Krystal's experience she feels that the toys that we traditionally give our kids can contribute to opening our children's mind or narrowing it. Krystal believes that more of our girls need spatial toys that help them realize their problem-solving skills. She has spoken with teachers and others and asked them to avoid telling children that things are easy. “It isn't easy for the student and when you tell them that it's easy you make them feel stupid when they can't figure it out.” A better way to address it is to say, “I know it's hard but I know you can figure it out,” she said.

Community Example

In the community, she is a coordinator for math counts, an annual math competition featuring students who are excelling at math. She loves being able to recognize these students for their skills in math and it promotes further learning and taking on challenges. She also volunteers for ISU STEM day and Super Girl STEM day, presenting in classrooms, and other volunteering bringing awareness to girls in the STEM fields. “I just want them educated as to what their options are,” she said.

She also uses her story to help educate others about domestic violence. She is very passionate about helping others change from a victim to a survivor.

She's also proud of the work she does with KIND community. It was started by two local mothers whos focus is on what to be instead of what not to be, for example, be kind and here's why. The bottom line adults and parents must set an example.

Local Projects

Some of the local projects that she's worked on or have led have been Portneuf Wellness Complex. The individuals working on this project took this project as their own and she was privileged to work and learn from them. Her most exciting project now is the new “I” for Idaho State. Design is different this time around. The steel frame will house a durable plastic grating that is colored and is not subject to fading. The “I” will be placed a little higher than it was on Red Hill and be able to stand the test of time. According to what Krystal has been told the “I” should be completed by Homecoming this year. “It's very exciting,” she said.

Information

For more information on A&E Engineering check out their website http://ae-eng.com/

Thank you to Disruptive Productions for editing the podcast. Check them out at https://disruptiveproductions.com/