Facilities engineer and project manager at Aera Energy
You’re not going to make it.
That was the overall message Tiffany Chatman got from her college adviser as she started down the road toward a career in engineering. It was an eye-opening introduction that made her realize that women tend to not be seen as equals in the field. She was faced with a choice – stick it out or give up like everyone else.
But she’s wanted to be an engineer since the sixth grade, when her teacher Stacia Carew told her she would be great at it.
The doubt just put a burning passion in Tiffany. She wanted to be the person who makes it to the finish line.
“For me to get so far and just give up, I didn’t see that as an option for me,” she said.
Not only did she earn her degree in civil engineering from Prairie View A&M University, she received a job offer within minutes of speaking to a representative from Aera Energy during a career fair. She graduated in May 2014 and moved to California two weeks later.
“I didn’t have much time to relish in the moment after I graduated and be with friends and family,” Tiffany said. “I was already packed and moving out.”
In the years that followed, Tiffany has taken every opportunity to give back, from speaking to student- athletes and volunteering at Discovery Church’s Dream Center at 520 Union Ave. every second and fourth Saturday.
“These are people who usually don’t have family, they don’t have friends, they don’t have people they can actually depend on and they (go there),” she said. “To be there consistently, you build a bond with the people. You can definitely see the level of comfort and trust they build with us. I’m grateful to do that.
“For me, it’s about establishing a legacy and sticking to it, where people say I know for sure what the core values in her life were. Right now, my core values are faith, family and fun.”