5 Questions with Anna Burke

Anna Burke is a surface transportation engineer with experience developing preliminary and final design plans. She has worked on a variety of state and municipal projects, including design details on a new low-water crossing bridge in Piedmont, MO, that included new box culverts. Anna joined CMT’s St. Louis office full-time after interning with the firm over the course of three summers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, where she was involved in the university chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).

How did you first become interested in civil engineering?

My mom was an influence on my interest in civil engineering. She is also a civil engineer, but she focuses on environmental work. Math and science were also always my strong suits in school, so with those aptitudes and her influence, I followed in her footsteps and set out to be a civil engineer, as well.

What was your experience as an intern at CMT like, and how did it lead to a full-time opportunity with the firm?

I interned at CMT for three summers, starting in 2020. That first summer, I got the opportunity to work closely with project managers on their projects, which, I think, is unlike many other internships in the industry. During that first internship experience, it did take a bit of time for me to adapt and learn the CAD software platform MicroStation, but as noted, I got to work closely with great colleagues who helped me navigate it. They would teach me something and then let me try on my own, and that approach was rewarding to me, as I became more confident in my work. Though it took some time for me to get acclimated to the new tools I was using, I liked the feeling I got after figuring something out on my own.

After I kept coming back summer after summer, I had a chat with my leader, and we came to an agreement that I would keep working at the firm full time. I enjoyed what I was doing, and I was excited to come back to CMT post-graduation.

What is a project you worked on as an intern that you found to be a particularly valuable learning experience?

One specific project comes to mind – one that I worked on during my first summer with CMT. It was just me and a project manager on the project, so I got to learn a lot. The project was an airport job in this small town in the southeast part of the state – Piedmont, MO.

Working on it was the first opportunity I had to do some modeling; I got to model a box culvert they were putting in on this low-water crossing bridge that led to the regional airport. At first, I was not scaling text and cells properly according to the sheet size. I remember bringing the sheets to the project manager, and they were scaled five times too big. But ultimately, I think trial and error helped me learn what they were looking for. As a result, I learned how to properly scale and draw things.

What aspect of your work do you find most fulfilling?

I get a great sense of fulfillment when I approach the submission deadline for a project. Although it can be challenging if there are last-minute changes, the sense of relief that follows is great. Knowing that my hard work has progressed and is now awaiting feedback is a fantastic feeling, and I feel accomplished.

What do you value most about CMT’s company culture?

Everyone I’ve come across at CMT has been kind and helpful to me, especially when I started learning the ropes when transitioning to full time.

There are a few women I work with in my office that I especially like to go to when I have questions about the tasks I’m doing. We work together a lot and stick together, and it’s nice to have that support.