I am a Professional Engineer living in Reno, NV and I work at the University of Nevada, Reno. I have been a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for twelve years and have loved every minute of it! I began as a student member in 2004, served as President of our local Younger Member Group in 2013, and was elected President of the Truckee Meadows Branch in 2015. I have acted as the Practitioner Advisor of the University of Nevada ASCE Student Chapter since 2009 and currently serve as the Program Chair of the Committee on Younger Members. All of these hours I’ve spent with ASCE has grown my professional skills and social networks in immeasurable ways. ASCE MADE ME who I am today.
Let’s start at the beginning: in January 2004 I moved to Reno from Southern California to study Civil Engineering. That year we hosted the Mid-Pacific Conference and I was recruited as a builder for the Steel Bridge Competition. Despite my high expectations, our team placed last in the competition. We exceeded the maximum time limit to build our bridge and I’m pretty sure the judges stopped counting the infractions because they just felt sorry for us. Afterwards, one of my team members blamed me for putting one piece in backwards, which increased our build time. I felt like I let everyone down. But there were a few students in ASCE (who are still my friends today) that convinced me that the failure wasn’t entirely my fault. After all, the bridge had two arches, 16 suspension cables, and 108 bolts—in three different lengths. The encouragement that I felt from my classmates allowed me to learn from my mistakes and feel that I had a support network of students with similar experiences. That’s how I finally joined ASCE.
Today, I am still involved with the student chapter at the University of Nevada. The most common thing I hear from graduating seniors is, “I wish I would have gotten involved earlier.” That’s my opportunity to remind them that ASCE doesn’t end with college. After I graduated, I continued to engage with the students, I got involved at the local level, and then finally volunteered for a national committee. At every single conference, competition, event, and activity, I learn something new. I find myself traveling to new places, making new friends, improving my technical knowledge, giving presentations, lobbying in front of Congress, participating in strategic planning exercises, teaching leadership skills, and mentoring students just like 2004 Me. Over the past 12 years ASCE MADE ME do a lot of things, but I couldn’t be more grateful for the people I’ve met and the skills I’ve gained along the way.