Year: Fourth year
Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering
When Andrea Chakraborty was young she didn’t like math, so her grandfather—a lifelong construction worker—used to tell her: “Then you should become an engineer!” His logic? Math presented a challenge to his granddaughter, and she should learn to overcome those.
So she did.
This fall, Chakraborty, a fourth-year civil and environmental engineering student at Case Western Reserve University, is taking part in a six-month co-op with an engineering consulting firm in Baltimore that specializes in airport planning, design and management.
She’s part of a team designing a new concourse for the Los Angeles International Airport to address the higher volume of flights expected during the 2028 Olympic Games, slated to take place in the southern California city.
“I’ve applied many of the skills I’ve learned in the classroom [at CWRU], and am learning the nuances of working with external clients,” Chakraborty said. “As an engineering student, I am able to contribute to [solving] real problems and it’s very exciting to see an idea be put into practice.”
The co-op experience is not her first time actualizing ideas. One of her favorite activities she’s participated in at the university was a student design competition through the Ohio Water Environment Association, during which small teams competed to design and solve real business problems in water engineering.
Chakraborty’s team took first place last year, and they were invited to present their design at conferences across the state and in Chicago—including at the largest water conference in the country.
“It was an honor to represent CWRU at this event,” she said.
Chakraborty didn’t just choose to study at Case Western Reserve for its top-ranked engineering program, though. She applied early decision because of the university’s collaborative atmosphere—and because she knew it would fuel another of her passions.
“Music is very important to me, and CWRU offers a number of opportunities for students who are interested in music but who are not majoring in music,” she explained. “During my time at CWRU, I have hosted my own radio show for the campus radio station, played bass in the chamber orchestra, played guitar and sang vocals in the pop ensemble, and performed with my band Dishwasher Possum at Springfest!”
Chakraborty can be found playing bass and singing vocals in Dishwasher Possum, a CWRU student band, and Honeyland, a band made up of musicians from the Cleveland area.
“Honeyland has music available for streaming and Dishwasher Possum has lots of events on the horizon,” she said.
Also at Case Western Reserve, Chakraborty is a part of The Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable (WISER) and she works on campus as a tour guide. Previously, she was involved in a research project that investigated the use of fungi to heal cracks in concrete, and she performed research collecting water and soil samples from the Cleveland Metroparks.
Chakraborty is still evaluating opportunities for after graduation, but has been looking into consulting and design.