Alumni Profile: Heather Parry Hayes
Bachelor of Sciences in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Master of Sciences in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2010-2012
Graduate Research Assistant, 2012-2014
Heather Parry Hayes began her four-year tenure at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center in February of 2010 while working towards her BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant for two years and then returned as a graduate research assistant.
Hayes primarily worked on the Bridge In A Backpack® project at the center, now known as the Composite Bridge Arch System. She researched ways to splice arch spans together to create longer bridges, and she also performed environmental testing on the carbon fiber arches.
Her work as an undergrad on the composite arch bridge system led to her decision to go to graduate school.
“I was working on the project as an undergrad and was interested in continuing and taking over for the previous graduate student. I accepted the position so I could go to graduate school and learn more about composites,” Hayes said.
Due to ongoing research and efforts by a University of Maine-spinoff company, Advanced Infrastructure Technologies, the composite arch bridge system has now been used in over 18 domestic and international construction projects.
Hayes gained valuable experience at the center, both technical and interpersonal. She credits the center with helping develop her engineering and design skills as well as leadership and communication. Most of Hayes opportunities for growth in leadership and communication came as a graduate student working towards her thesis.
“I had undergraduate students working for me; managing them to get my thesis accomplished was the best experience.”
In addition to managing a project, Hayes said she enjoyed working with the front office staff to organize a holiday party and summer barbeque that brought the center together.
Hayes uses the organizational and time management skills she developed at the center on an ongoing basis at her current job as a Junior Structural Engineer at Louis Berger, a transportation consulting firm that works to develop complex infrastructure in highly populated areas both domestically and internationally.
“The biggest asset to have in my job are people skills and technical skills. I always work with a wide variety of coworkers and clients on a daily basis, and working at the center helped me prepare for that.”