Introduce a Girl to Engineering

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Introduce a Girl to Engineering

Our communities, neighborhoods, cities, counties, and everything around us are changing every day – and always have been. It’s what keeps our world spinning. The world around us is constantly evolving to be more innovative, efficient, and safer - making life more comfortable for everyone.  

This week is Engineer’s Week – a week we celebrate those who have always been and continue to be pioneers in our world by reimagining a better tomorrow. As part of the celebration, February 25 is recognized as “Girl Day”, a worldwide campaign to engage girls in engineering. During Engineer’s Week we applaud the men and women who paved the way for a brighter future for everyone and those who continue to encourage the innovative minds of today to solve the problems of tomorrow.

Jess Karls, a professional engineer with KLJ, went into the field for just that reason – problem solving.  “I get to be creative, let my curiosity run, and find ways to impact my community,” said Karls. Karls, who works from KLJ’s West Fargo, ND location has always been passionate about changing the way people see engineering and encouraging today’s youth to see what a wonderous profession it really is. “The roads you drive, the bridges you cross, the airports you depart from and return home to, the water you drink, or even the wireless connection you use to stay in touch with family and friends are all possible because of engineers. This isn’t something you think about – and that is how it should be,” said Karls. Every day, engineers shape the future of the world we live in by solving problems and cultivating innovative ideas to impact future generations.  
Our lives will never stop changing, which is why Karls regularly gives her time to students specifically girls, who have an interest in STEM related activities. “Showing kids that engineering is exciting, is really what I am passionate about,” said Karls. “I was introduced to STEM activities at a young age which helped guide my decision to become an engineer. I started as an intern at KLJ while completing my engineering degree at North Dakota State University (NDSU), where I was one of only a few women studying the field. I first served on the survey crew before an opportunity came up to assist the transportation department during the school year. It really helped me get my feet wet in the stuff you don’t learn in school,” she said. After graduation, Karls joined the KLJ team as a civil engineer, today she serves as the Department Manager for Civil Transportation. 
Outside of the office, Karls’ volunteer work spans several organizations and generations. She is involved in the NDSU program “Introduce a Girl to Engineering,” NDSU’s Society of Women Engineers, and STEM/STEAM programs at local Fargo-Moorhead elementary schools. She is also President of the Fargo chapter of Toastmasters, which helps members build public speaking confidence and gain leadership experience. When asked about her extensive volunteer work, she said that she believes it’s important to highlight what engineers actually do every day--problem solve and work as a team. “[Other people] know the black and white, it’s my job to find the gray,” Karls said. Along with educating the general population about the engineering profession, Karls believes introducing young women to the real nature of engineering is important to attracting a more diverse workforce in the field.  
At KLJ, we love engineering progressive infrastructure that improves communities across the nation and are proud of our entire team of engineers and those who support them. If you’d like to work with more professional engineers like Jess, visit our careers page at