Eric Truong

Scholarship Status: Awarded 2nd Place
Scholarship Awarded: Environmental & Water Resources Institute Scholarship
University: University of California, Irvine
Date of Graduation: June 2018


I’ve always been one to appreciate nature - the dense landscape, soothing oceans, natural winds, and vast mountain ranges. On the opposite end, I failed to appreciate the world of civil engineering. Everyone talked about buildings, bridges, and roads, but that quickly became routine and dull. I saw those man-made creations daily, which made it uninteresting very quickly. One morning, I came to the realization that the true beauty was within the elaborate designs of engineering that covered my naked eye. The massive underground systems that operate and sustain our daily life was working right below my feet. My day to day life didn’t change, but my perspective did. My appreciation for this ease of life sparks my desire as an engineer to give back and contribute to society. It wasn’t until this past summer when I was exposed to the underground world of civil engineering. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to work in land development, in which I was able to design utility lines and grade sites. As I did more and more projects, I gained a newfound appreciation of how life is conveniently paved for us. I felt a strong sense of responsibility, because I knew my designs would be built permanently for public use. When most people turn on a kitchen faucet, they expect water. For myself, I appreciate the convenience of not having to physically exit the house to get water from a well or water wagon. Even day to day things such as using the restroom, I have been very grateful that our waste is properly disposed without having to smell or worry about it. When there is a fire, I am happy to know that there will conveniently be a nearby fire hydrant that will actually provide enough water to put it out. Even the sidewalks we walk on are meticulously graded so that we aren’t sweating after walking 20 feet or tripping due to uneven surfaces. These seemingly unknown problems are already solved for us but we don’t realize it. As an engineer, I hope to improve our day to day life, and design efficient systems for the betterment of our communities. I didn’t realize a lot of engineering solutions were there. However, the beauty lies within not knowing. It is very unique that we live in a time where life is simplified. While we may all encounter our own problems, there are thousands more already solved for us. My inspiration to become a civil engineer stems from being able pay it forward and give back to the next generation of people, just like the previous generation of engineers did for us.


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