Sana Newad joined the University of Washington this autumn as a junior in the College of Built Environments. In our interview, Sana offers insight into the transfer student experience and what led her to pursue construction management at the UW.
Major: Construction Management
Transferred From: Bellevue College
What led you to pursue construction management?
My original interest actually wasn’t construction management. I went to Inglemoor High School and did multiple business-based clubs, like DECA and FBLA. After graduating, I attended Bellevue College, where I wanted to pursue a degree in Finance. Going through the classes, I realized I had an interest in my personal finances, but not the degree.
I realized I wanted to pursue a STEM-based degree and found that my skills, knowledge, and interest align with civil engineering. I went on to complete the prerequisites. During the time of transferring and researching schools, I found Construction Management on the website and started researching. I appreciated it by mixing my interest in business and my chosen degree in Civil engineering into something I want to pursue.
What interests you about construction management?
I like how something can originate with a mere idea and then through the process of design, planning, and collaboration you observe a structure come to fruition.
What challenges have you encountered as a transfer student?
Since transferring to the UW, I have had challenges with getting accustomed to the fast paced life of the university. Being remote for school with three or four classes, I wasn’t used to being at school all day. It’s been a 180 degree change from the pandemic to being in person.
Is there anything that has surprised you as a transfer student?
The transfer process is about fulfilling prerequisites, submitting applications, and writing essays – just picking away at it for a year. Then you finally get here and your idea of the UW and what it’s like actually being here are just two different things. There’s so much more to learn and take away. There’s so many components of the degree and where it expands to that I never could have imagined. I had a very telescopic perspective of the degree and it’s just getting bigger and bigger as I go through classes and network with people.
Are there parts of your major or the College that you particularly enjoy?
I’m really liking AGC (Associated General Contractors). I haven’t done a whole lot with them, but going to the meetings has been enjoyable. I also just went to the CM Career Expo. The opportunity to have informal meetings with people in the industry has been my favorite part of the program so far. There’s much to learn beyond what’s inside of a book – not that they don’t offer a lot – but I think real world experience is what we all crave.
Are there any classes or professors you have especially enjoyed or are looking forward to?
My professor for construction industries – Darlene – has worked in the construction industry for decades and has traveled the world. She’s worked in China, Saudi Arabia, Spain – she’s touched base everywhere and had the most amazing experiences.
When you think about construction, you don’t usually think about it on an international level. I enjoy traveling, so the idea of moving around and having such a worldly experience in this career really excites me.
What experiences have been most impactful for you outside of the classroom?
It’s actually something that hasn’t happened yet, but that I’ve been offered. I was offered an internship position with Turner that I’m really looking forward to. Going through the interview and meeting the team, I am excited to learn from them and get to know the people in the industry.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about transferring to the UW?
Talk to the advisor of the department you’re interested in at the university, and also one from the place you’re transferring from. A huge mistake I made at community college was coming in with an ‘I can do it by myself, I shouldn’t ask for help’ attitude. If I had talked to more people and gotten to know what the transfer process was, I could have transferred earlier. But since I didn’t communicate and didn’t ask for help until the last minute, there weren’t many things they could do. Ask for help early on and reach out even if your goals end up changing. It’s better to get all the information than to wait until it’s too late and end up having to delay the process for an entire year.
What are your future goals?
I’m still figuring things out, but I’m hoping to graduate in two years and have a job. I’d like to be a project manager in five, which I think is pretty standard. Eventually, I hope to go into real estate. It’s something that’s always piqued my interest, and even if it’s just commercial real estate, I’d like to find a pathway into that.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I have a lot of compliments from the department. Rachel, the CM advisor, was the most helpful person I met at the school. I stopped her a couple of times, and she heard me each time. She’s someone who listens to you and understands your frustrations. She’s genuinely one of the best advisors I could possibly have, and I am very grateful to have them.
I want to exaggerate knowing your advisors. They are good resources and great people to reach out to and get help on your educational journey.