Tatiana Braun

Scholarship Status: Awarded 1st Place
Scholarship Awarded: Achievement Scholarship
University: California State University Long Beach
Date of Graduation: 5/17/2016


Essay:

Growing up, I think I always knew I wanted to be an engineer and I owe it all to my mother. My mom studied computer science engineering at Santa Clara University when there were even less women engineers than there are now. Today, she is a successful web developer at Intuit. Between all the time I spent playing with Legos and continuous questions on how things worked, my mom would encourage me to develop further interests in engineering. Though despite the suggestions, it took me until my junior year of college to realize that Civil Engineering is what I want to pursue as a career. At the young age of eighteen, I went through many stages of going back and forth between fashion, architecture, and film production when it came to choosing a major career path. At the time, this decision was the most pivotal choice I had made up until that point and I was avoiding anything relating to engineering. Ultimately, I chose civil engineering as a default when I chose to go to school at CSULB. I enjoyed my classes. Math and science were not necessarily easy or difficult, but I reveled in earning good grades after fighting through late nights of studying. It was a sense of accomplishment. Though school itself went perfectly fine, studying civil engineering was limited to my class schedule. It wasn’t until I studied abroad in Florence, Italy that I realized I was missing a community. I was in a business program for my minor and found that the business students had a sense of camaraderie from there home universities. Conversely, I had made friends in classes, but did not have that set group. That is why when I returned to CSULB in Spring 2014, the first item on my to do list was to fill out a membership form at the ASCE office. Hoping to find some meaning and answers as to why I should continuing studying civil engineering, I lingered around the ASCE office, picking the brains of those who I saw were so passionate in what we what were studying. They told me about their personal experiences with internships and I grew to learn about the many opportunities and types of civil engineering. Transportation stood out to me in particular. Civil Engineering finally captured my attention. I quickly realized that it was exactly everything that I really wanted in a career – a practical profession focusing on helping other people while still allowing me work in a team. There was no questioning that I had chosen the right line of work now. My understanding of civil engineering was no longer limited to the statics class I had taken and my desire to make the next high-rise building in California. With no time to spare, I immersed myself in whatever I could through ASCE. I was quickly assigned the daunting task of each Pacific West Conference, which was to write the MEAD Paper for our school so that we would be qualified to go to conference at San Diego State. Though writing is oftentimes a fear to most engineers, I jumped at the challenge. I wanted to find my niche in Civil Engineering and I had to do it by getting involved. Although I was slow to commit to studying Civil Engineering, I continued to be quick to sign up. My fourth year, I joined the steel bridge team and paddling team. Just in case that was not enough, I volunteered to be the Marshall for Chi Epsilon. This was on top of being Co-Conference Chair as Cody Dodge and I set the stage for Pacific Southwest Conference this upcoming spring at CSULB. Despite being fairly busy, I still made myself work especially hard to satisfy my personal standards and help with the ASCE CSULB Student Chapter. Another part of Civil Engineering I enjoy so much is not only the technical application, but the ability to work in a team towards a single goal. This provides a sense of camaraderie and community. I have met some of my closest friends through ASCE. We have been there for each other through late nights of studying and have bonded over our triumphs with our projects. We have marveled at the Panama Canal together and volunteered to teach elementary schools kids about Civil Engineering. We have created so many memories. Additionally, my work experience thus far at Kimley Horn and Associates has given me a glimpse of how civil engineers work in a professional environmental. The group-oriented nature of civil nature has always appealed to my extraverted side. It is one thing to say that you love what you do, but it is entirely another thing entirely when you love the people you work with. The community I have found through Civil Engineering has shaped the way I view the profession. Work is infinitely more enjoyable when you are working people you have an affinity for. I have found what my mom had known all along. Pursuing a career in Civil Engineering, I can now use my curious disposition to work with others and give back to the community. As my career progresses, I hope to use my Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from CSULB and minor in entrepreneurship to build my own practice one day. My interest in transportation has led me to work on the aviation team, with projects as close as Los Angeles Airport and as far as El Paso Airport. From there, opportunities are endless. I do not want to limit myself with a single idea and am open to exploring more in the world of Civil Engineering, always keeping in mind that my work is to help those around me.

CEC

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