Moving forward through positive action
For SAIT graduate Sarah Raddatz (Civil Engineering Technology ’21), an important step in moving forward is focusing on positive action and situations.
“I’m very lucky to be in the position that I am in,” she explains. “I feel like if you look for obstacles, you will find them, when equally if you look for opportunities those will present themselves as well.”
Raddatz came to SAIT straight after high school despite not knowing what she wanted to study.
“There were a lot of things that I knew I didn't want to do. But in terms of what I wanted to do, I really didn't know,” she says. “I didn’t know a whole lot about engineering, but it was described to me in a lot of different ways as solving problems.”
With a long-standing interest in hands-on problem-solving, Raddatz was drawn towards SAIT’s CVT program and quickly discovered she enjoyed what the program offered. After her first year, she secured a summer job as a material tester on a construction project in northern Alberta — a quick process that saw her interviewed, hired and on-site hundreds of kilometers from home in only four days.
“Within four days, I was already working up north, and that was difficult because usually there would be a lot more training in Calgary first,” Raddatz recalls. “But because of the pandemic and the nature of the project, they really needed me up there.”
The work was challenging, and stressful at times, but Raddatz was glad for the experience.
“I learned a lot besides career stuff,” she says. “Like being able to work with people that you don't necessarily get along with and to persevere through stressful situations.”
When she returned to Calgary, Raddatz was unsure of her next steps, but she decided to finish the last year of her program despite reservations about completing her studies online. In the end, Raddatz persevered and graduated in Spring 2021, and along the way, received several donor-supported student awards.
“I had applied for the awards at the beginning of the year,” she says. “And I was decompressing right after finishing school, and then I got the awards one after the other, and I was so shocked and excited!”
Raddatz received the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, Association of Science and Engineering Technology, and Lafarge Canada Endowment awards and has put the funds towards pursuing further education in the future.
“It encouraged me to think about going back,” she says. “I'm grateful for the opportunities that I had at SAIT and all of the support, and I intend on keeping that experience with me throughout my career.”
Raddatz is currently enjoying her position as a structural design drafter at Fluor.
“So far, I'm very happy with the experience that I've had, and I feel like I'm definitely in the right place for the time being.”
Reflecting on her position in a typically male-dominated industry, Raddatz believes that focusing on one’s own actions and behaviours can help create a more inclusive and progressive environment.
“It’s important to me to be mindful and aware of my actions and educate myself to continue progressing,” she says. “The positives of this industry far outweigh the negatives, and the good encouraging actions of others are far more common than the passive discriminatory ones.”
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