One of my greatest passions in life is mentoring and inspiring the next generation of female civil engineers. In the fall of 2013, a high school senior, Margarita, approached me asking for help on her senior project to shadow an engineer. At the time, she was unsure of what kind of engineering she wanted to study in college and wanted to learn more about it. I had recently graduated with my BS in Civil Engineering and was just starting my career, but I took her out for coffee and enthusiastically shared everything I knew. Not only did this Stanford-bound 4.0+ high school student decide to study civil engineering after talking with me, she also focused on water resources and attended and excelled at my Alma Mater, Sacramento State University. I continued to mentor her and other students at Sac State over the years as she took over and improved organizations, I was once a young leader in such as ASCE’s Mid-Pac Water Treatment Team and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). When I was a student President of SWE at Sac State, I had started an event called “Women’s Shadow Day” which invited high school girls to the college campus to attend engineering classes and taste what it was like to study engineering. That first year we had 20 high school girls attend. In 2017, Margarita continued the “Women’s Shadow Day” event for its 5th anniversary which hosted over 100 high school girls. This student, Margarita Dronov (Kovalchuk), was recognized as 2017’s New Face of Civil Engineering College Edition, and it was one of my most proud moments as a mentor. She is now pursuing her PhD at Stanford University and I know that she and I will both continue the chain of inspiring the next generation of future female civil engineers.
- Christine Rice, P.E. M.ASCE