My involvement with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been a decade-long transformative journey that began in 2012. I had just moved from Panama to Tallahassee to finish my B.S. in Civil Engineering at Florida State University. As an international student venturing through a rigorous engineering program, I looked for new ways to get involved, grow my network, and, most importantly, find support. I found that, and so much more, when I joined the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering ASCE Student Chapter and got to visit and participate in many student competitions throughout the Southeast.
The community I could tap into through our student chapter surpassed the test of distance and time. It was through attending our regular student general body meetings that I learned about graduate school opportunities. This realization led me to apply and eventually enroll in a master’s in science program at Auburn University in 2015. During my graduate school journey, I continued to stay involved through volunteering and outreach events within our local community.
Following my graduation, career prospects steered me to the Midwest. Once again, I faced the challenge of acclimating to a new environment, both professionally and personally. My instinct was to connect with the local ASCE group, fostering my innate desire to contribute and get to know this new environment. I joined the Central Iowa Younger Member Group, initially as a Social Media Coordinator and then Secretary-Treasurer. My involvement was a conduit to meet remarkable colleagues, enrich my professional journey, expand my network, and engage with the community.
In 2019, my professional journey led my husband and me back to Alabama, firmly within SEC territory. Without hesitation, I reconnected with the local ASCE Branch, this time assuming the role of Student Liaison. In that role I was responsible for bridging the divide between the professional branch and the student chapter, nurturing coordination, and collaboration between both groups. A significant achievement in this capacity was the launch of the Industry Leader Panel Discussion, an annual evening event where civil engineers from diverse backgrounds share their professional and personal experiences with current students.
Subsequently, I had the honor of serving as Secretary-Treasurer for the Montgomery Branch in 2020. During this time, I continued to find ways to integrate the Auburn University Student Chapter with the professionals of the Montogomery Branch. I continued to pick up where I had left off as a student member and coordinated volunteer events with local schools to help continue to support STEM-related activities and MATHCOUNTS competitions.
The Montgomery Branch continued to make headlines as we were recognized for our website with an award at the ASCE Alabama Section Summer Meeting in 2020.
In 2022, the Auburn University Student Chapter was tasked with hosting and organizing the inaugural Gulf Coast Student Symposium, where over 350 students from Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana were coming to Auburn to compete in various Civil Engineering disciplines and competitions. As Vice President of the Montgomery Branch, I continued to serve as an extension for both students and professionals. I organized fundraising, volunteers, and judges to help coordinate this event. The planning committee successfully raised $115,000 in less than ten months to make this event happen. I like to attribute the success of this event to the sense of community that ASCE provides.
Of all the ways that ASCE gives back to society, the Montgomery Branch Ramsey Ashmore Memorial Golf Tournament is my favorite one to participate in. Our committee starts planning this event months in advance and continuously tries to find innovative ways to make it more enjoyable, successful, and meaningful so that it leaves a lasting impact on our community.
As President, I had the honor of recognizing three exceptional high school students from the River Region for their academic achievements and dedication to leadership and community service. The special recognition occurred during the Montgomery Branch’s April monthly meeting, where attendees enjoyed hearing from the Auburn University Student Chapter about their experience at the 2023 Gulf Coast Student Symposium. It was a well-attended event with members of the Branch, Board of Directors, Auburn University student chapter, proud parents, and special guests in attendance. This is an excellent way for alums to reminisce about our old symposium days while the new and upcoming generation discovers all the great places ASCE can take them.
As I step into my Past President position within the Branch, I continue to find ways to advise and improve our impact within society both locally and nationally. My journey with ASCE thus far has enriched me as an engineer and a person. It has allowed me to make a meaningful impact in the many communities I’ve lived in. ASCE has opened doors to diverse individuals, industries, and pathways, enriching my life in countless ways. I genuinely relish the memories made, but I stay motivated now more than ever to continue seeking opportunities to serve ASCE.