Carnegie Mellon University

Burcu Akinci

Metro21 Faculty Spotlight: Burcu Akinci

Meet Dr. Burcu Akinci, the Paul Christiano Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Associate Dean for Research for the College of Engineering and the Director of the Engineering Research Accelerator

In honor of International Women's Day, Metro21 wanted to learn more about Burcu and what drives her as a dynamic and influential woman in the engineering field.

What has been your favorite project to work on throughout the course of your career and why?

All projects bring unique excitement, joy and challenges and I have greatly enjoyed all of the research projects that I have worked in.  Hence, I do not have favorite.  It is like having kids - there is no favorite.

What advice can you give for women entering into your field (or what do you wish you had known when you were starting that you know now)?

Civil and Environmental Engineering is a very exciting field!  It is key to society and touches so many things that we encounter in our daily lives - from homes that we live in, to water that we drink, to the air that we breathe.  There are no two civil & enviromental engineering projects that are the same; hence, there is neither repetition nor a dull moment in our jobs.  I have found that women are very welcome in every aspect of this field and our ideas and work have been able to make lasting impact.

What has been the driving force throughout your career?

I am very much driven by making a positive impact.  In everything that I do I try my best, whether it be teaching or research, with the hope that I am making a positive impact to our students and our field.

What do you do to relax and unwind from a hectic day?

My choice in what I do for relaxation changes more or less every year.  I used to do yoga.   Nowadays, I take a long walk with my dog and do spinning.

Any other information that you think would be interesting for people to learn about you?

I am a very proud third generation Civil Engineer.  My mom went into civil engineering at a time when not many women were choosing this field.  She has been a great role model and an inspiration for me.  The times and the environment have changed significantly since then and I am thrilled to witness this change and see how women are thriving in our field.