Next Steps

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Stay Determined and Don't Fear Mistakes

Thalia Valkanos, EIT, A.M.ASCE, is not afraid to take risks. An environmental engineering professional on the consult-ing team at Wood in its Chelmsford, Massachusetts, office, she has switched majors, switched careers, and switched jobs several times in her nascent career.

As one of ASCE’s 2020 New Faces of Civil En-gineering (Professional Edition), a member of ASCE’s National Committee on Younger Mem-bers, and the youngest engineer to have held the presidency of ASCE’s New Hampshire Section (from 2016 to 2017), she sets her sights high and remains determined in the face of obstacles. So when she says she aims to be president of the national Society, it’s easy to believe her.
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Let Your Passions Inspire Your Career

While some civil engineering students may be lured from the field by the appeal of careers in computer science, Daniel Campbell, ENV SP, A.M.ASCE—one of ASCE’s 2020 New Faces professionals—made the reverse decision, switching his interest from computer science to civil engineering in the wake of a tragedy.

Before pursuing his bachelor’s degree
at the University of Matanzas, in Cuba, a land-slide in his home country, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, took the life of his girlfriend’s aunt in 2008. Campbell committed himself to studying civil engineering, understanding and preventing failures, and making communities more resilient to disasters. 

Work Hard and Enthusiastically Embrace Change

KELLI L. MCARDELL, I.E., A.M.ASCE, has worked on many transportation and aviation projects in just seven years as a full-time engineer with C&S Companies. Her responsibilities have included preparing agreements, schedules, and cost analyses; working through environmental and local permitting; and hands-on design and construction site work.

Her recent promotion to project engineer gives her supervisory responsibility over younger engineers and interns, and as she pursues her master’s degree in project management, she is relishing the role. 

Practice Nontechnical Skills to Balance Life, Learning, and Work

IT WOULD BE EASY TO ASSUME that Siavash Zamiran, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, doesn’t get much sleep. Zamiran, who was presented with the ASCE Edmund Friedman Young Engineer Award in 2019, works full time as a geotechnical engineer for St. Louis-based Marino Engineering Associates Inc. (MEA), teaches geotechnical engineering on an adjunct basis at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), and serves as the chair of the Sustainability Committee for the St. Louis Section.

He says his enthusiasm, optimism, organizational skills, and devotion to self-improvement keep him going. By continuing to teach in the subjects in which he practices, he maintains up-to-date knowledge and skills. And by reading, networking, and listening to podcasts, he has learned how to manage his time and tasks to achieve a rewarding balance of work, school, and life.

Research Potential Employers and Approach Them with Confidence

IT’S RARE THAT ANYONE’S FIRST JOB after college is a perfect fit, but for Madeley Arriola Guerrero, A.M.ASCE, research, patience, and persistence paid off.

As an associate engineer in the West Palm Beach, Florida, office of Chen Moore and Associates, she is using the technical education and software expertise she obtained at the University of Florida to model and design potable water and force main systems for a variety of clients. By taking her time to research different companies and evaluate their corporate cultures, she was able to find an employer that supports her desire to increase her skills and learn at a fast pace.

Discover Your Passion And Let It Guide You

JING LIAO, EIT, A.M.ASCE, has been passionate about watersince high school, when she traveled to Malawi as part of a United Nations Millennium Development Goals program that involved taking water-quality samples for a village. She got to know the villagers and became dedicated to improving lives through better water quality.

While attending Mississippi State University, she became active in Engineers Without Borders (EWB), holding several leadership roles and eventually leading the Southeast Region as it sought to meet basic human needs in communities around the world. Liao is a strong believer in engineers discovering their true motivation for what they do—their “why”—and using that passion to guide their careers.

Round Out the Technical Skills With Personal Creativity

MOSTAQUR RAHMAN, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, is passionate about pavement. “I always wanted to contribute to the community by working in the transportation industry,” he says.

His education led him toward improving the way states investigate, log, maintain, and improve their pavements. This is why it might surprise some to learn about his second passion: writing. His theory is that by maintaining a balance between the technical and the creative, his contributions to his company, his career, and his clients will be all the richer.