Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?
ASCE Collaborate is a tool to engage with civil engineers around the world. Contributing to ASCE Collaborate allows me to build relationships and share knowledge with other engineers. I also gain advice, new perspectives, and an opportunity to enhance my writing skills.
As we serve the public through civil engineering, the works we create serve us in return. Therefore, contributing to the civil engineering profession is essential, and I enjoy playing my part.
What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?
1) Join a Professional Association - Professional Associations offer ways to: engage in engineering outreach on a large scale and strengthen the pipeline of future engineers; develop connections with professionals locally and globally; and grow leadership skills.
2) Read Engineering Articles - Reading engineering articles is an excellent way to explore interests outside of the projects you are working on. The articles can give you a glimpse into other niches in the engineering industry. Online publications and industry magazines often provide insight for problems you are working to solve as well.
3) Ask Questions - If you reach an impasse in an engineering calculation, try asking questions. Prior to the conversation, be sure to do your research. Come prepared to show the ways in which you have already attempted to arrive at a solution.
Why did you become a civil engineer?
I was inspired to study structural engineering by the infrastructure and architecture in my hometown of Chicago. I was captivated by soaring skyscrapers and beautiful bridges. My mother, who is a surreal artist, and father, a technical professional and U.S. Navy Veteran, greatly influenced my path. As a civil engineer, I also have the opportunity to help others reach the destinations most important to them.
What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?
As a civil engineer, our projects are tangible. Our designs solve critical problems and create conveniences to improve quality of life. I enjoy the feeling of happiness that comes with seeing a project I have contributed to being constructed and ultimately used by the public.
What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?
The most challenging project I have ever completed was a new six span pedestrian bridge across a busy interstate with spans up to 173 feet (approx. 53 meters). It was challenging because it was a project full of “firsts” for me. It was the first pedestrian bridge, the first prestressed concrete bridge, and the first bridge on the East Coast of the United States I had ever designed. I had to learn new standards and software programs. I also collaborated with a new group of engineers for the project. The challenges made the completion of the project even more rewarding!