Haley Witzeman

Scholarship Status: Awarded
Scholarship Awarded: Achievement Scholarship
University: UC Irvine
Date of Graduation: June 2019


Essay:

Ringo Starr, the often underappreciated drummer from the Beatles, once said, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” I was only introduced to this quote last year, but I feel that it has defined my college career and challenged my preconceptions of Civil Engineering thus far. My internship experience, classes, and club and organization projects have all consisted of needing others in some way. While I originally thought that it was bad to rely on others, I have found that we can learn and improve ourselves from mentoring, working with, and getting taken under the wing of our colleagues. I have come to believe the best thing about Civil Engineering is that school and work environments not only allow this mentality but promote it. Without this, I would not be where I am today. In my involvement as a member of our ASCE chapter and the organization, I have had the pleasure of both learning from project captains and mentoring younger members. Concrete canoe is one of the annual projects our chapter participates in, and last year I had the opportunity to help with post-construction and competing in the paddling segment of the Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) competition. While sanding and practicing paddling for hours a day over spring break, I learned more about all of the aspects of the project by spending a considerable amount of time with the team. The last week before the conference, each day was packed with work, and each member played a significant role in the completion of our canoe. This year, I look forward to once again contributing, this time as one of the captains. Another year-long event our ASCE chapter facilitates is the mentorship program. I had a mentor and two mentees last year, allowing me to learn from my mentor and answer any questions my mentees had. As a mentorship “family”, we grew together through the program, opening up many opportunities we wouldn’t have had otherwise. I look forward to many new and unique opportunities in the program this school year. During an internship with an engineering firm over the summer, I was initially fearful of seeming too inexperienced, and I hesitated to ask questions. Additionally, I was afraid that the age gap between my colleagues and I would not allow me to communicate effectively. As time passed and I became more comfortable with admitting to myself that I wasn’t able to do everything without asking colleagues for guidance, I found that I was more efficient, less stressed, and was truly interested and engaged in the work I was doing. Any question I had or help I needed was encouraged, and it helped me be successful with my work. Eventually, I plan on finishing both my Civil and Environmental Engineering degree and taking the PE exam. Though I have a rough idea of my long-term goals, which consist of contributing in the field of water resource engineering or environmental engineering through industry and a potential masters degree, I can never know for certain what the future holds or which path will lead me there. However, I know that based on my experience in Civil Engineering thus far, I would like to walk through life and my career as someone who simultaneously goes under the wing of those with wisdom and experience and as a mentor. With this mindset, I look forward to continuing my education and finding my purpose in Civil Engineering. Thank you for your consideration and time spent reading my application.

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