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Education, eLosAngeles, Enterprise Radio, EPN News

Women and Engineering: Attracting female students to the profession

Posted: January 7, 2019 at 7:21 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Laura Mohr, Vice President and Rail and Transit Group Director for HNTB Corporation, based in the Los Angeles office with more than 25 years of industry experience in the planning, design and construction of public transportation projects joins Enterprise Radio.

Listen to host Eric Dye & guest Laura Mohr discuss the following:

  1. Can you tell us how you entered this field and some of your career highlights?
  2. We are talking about corporate outreach programs that create awareness with young people to inform them about careers in engineering, architecture and planning.  Studies in STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math – at schools are increasing.  What is HNTB’s SPARK-LA program that you’ve been involved with for the past several years?
  3. Can you share some details about how the SPARK-LA curriculum is developed, what it covers and the types of experiences the students have? 
  4. Why is the GALA school SPARK-LA program important to the firm and what are the benefits of the experience to the GALA students? Does HNTB have other similar programs across the country?
  5. Clearly it is important to develop STEM programs like this to educate and encourage female students to pursue degrees and professions where women are traditionally underrepresented.  What are some of the main benefits for the participating infrastructure firms and the entire industry?
  6. As other firms consider implementing educational outreach programs like SPARK-LA, can you share some key learnings and recommendations with them?

Laura Mohr is vice president and rail and transit group director for HNTB Corporation, based in the Los Angeles office.  She has more than 25 years of industry experience in the planning, design and construction of public transportation projects, including light, heavy, commuter and intercity rail and bus rapid transit. In addition, she has led analysis, design and implementation of safety improvements for existing and new at-grade rail crossings.

At HNTB, she is responsible for managing rail and transit projects for clients such as Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metrolink. She also serves as program director for the firm’s successful SPARK LA partnership between the Los Angeles Board of Public Works and the Los Angeles Unified School District’s all-girls school – the Girls Academic Leadership Academy. SPARK LA helps support the school’s STEM curriculum – science, technology, engineering and math – which aims to attract more female students to pursue degrees and professions where females traditionally are underrepresented. 

Throughout her career, Mohr has worked on Southern California infrastructure projects in varying capacities, including as director of civil engineering for the Regional Connector Transit Project in Los Angeles, manager of crossing designs for the extension of the Metrolink Commuter Rail Service to Riverside and Perris, and engineering project manager for Metro Red Line Universal City Station surface works. 

Prior to joining HNTB, Mohr served another consulting firm as deputy project director for the preparation of preliminary engineering and design-build tender documents for Phase 1 of the Abu Dhabi Metro Project in the United Arab Emirates, a 19-kilometer heavy rail transit system with four underground and eight elevated stations. It will be the city’s first passenger rail system. 

Mohr earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Northwestern University and is a registered civil engineer in California.

About HNTB 

HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and contractors. HNTB’s work in California dates back to its founding in 1914. Today, HNTB continues to grow in size and service offerings to clients in California from seven office locations, currently employing more than 350 full-time professionals. With more than a century of service, HNTB understands the life cycle of infrastructure and addresses clients’ most complex technical, financial and operational challenges. Professionals nationwide deliver a full range of infrastructure-related services, including award-winning planning, design, program management and construction management. For more information, visit


Social Media Links:
Twitter: @HNTBCorp

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