Universal Engineer Sciences
When Cooper Nelson was two years old, he told people that his mom, Christiane, was a railroad engineer, bragging to anyone who would listen that “mommy works on the choo choos”.
Now that he’s four, Cooper understands that his youthful image of mom barreling down the tracks at the controls of a giant diesel locomotive may have been more fantasy that fact, but still not totally inaccurate. Christiane Nelson, 34, a soon-to-be Civil Engineer for Orlando-based Universal Engineering Sciences, has actually been very involved with several railroad projects for her company.
Universal is a consulting engineering firm specializing in geotechnical, hydraulic, environmental sciences and materials testing and threshold inspection. The company has nearly 700 employees in branch offices around Florida and Georgia.
In August, when Nelson receives her advanced degree from the University of Central Florida, Cooper’s energetic mother will become one of a handful of female civil engineers in Florida working in a profession that has historically been dominated by men. Christiane says that while she is excited by the opportunities that await her, she is also well aware of her role as an example to other young professional women interested in the building sciences.
During her 11 years as an engineering technologist with Universal, Nelson has been a project manager on numerous transportation jobs for the firm, including having a leading role for Universal in the Sun Rail commuter rail project. As a member of the Universal team, Nelson works on the $2 billion plus, All-
Aboard Florida rail system that will run from Miami to
Currently, Orlando resident Nelson is juggling an active, work/life dynamic, finishing her degree work at UCF while employed with Universal, helping husband Scot, also a civil engineer, take care of Cooper, and finding time to renew her athletic passion as a tri-athlete.
Nelson said she has been professionally inspired by comments of many businesswomen, quoting Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow.”
Universal President Mark Israel echoed the sentiment about Nelson’s drive and determination. “We are so proud of Christiane. She’s helping blaze a path for others who are considering a career in Engineering.”
UNIVERSAL ENGINEERING SCIENCES
3532 Maggie Blvd | Orlando, FL 32811