Vivian Tseng

Scholarship Status: Awarded 3rd Place
Scholarship Awarded: Achievement Scholarship
University: University of California, Irvine
Date of Graduation: June 2017


I came into UC Irvine wanting to become a Structural Engineer, even though I didn’t really know what that meant; I just thought buildings were really cool. Throughout my last four years in college, I’ve explored different areas of Civil Engineering and have come to understand what being a Civil Engineer means. Civil Engineers service the public and work for the good of others. Civil Engineers work on things that people don’t really think about and take for granted. As I continue my education at UC Irvine, I’ve come to really appreciate the work that Civil Engineers do and aspire to be a professional engineer. At UC Irvine, we have specializations in Structural, Transportation, and Water Resources Engineering. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to explore all three, as well as Geotechnical Engineering, Earthquake Engineering, Construction Engineering, and Surveying through various projects and work experiences. From the start of my second year, I’ve been constantly looking for opportunities to expand my knowledge of the civil engineering profession. I joined ASCE in my second year and joined Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge. Joining these two projects was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Because I was heavily involved in both of these projects, I was able to make countless connections and gain a better understanding of what qualities make a good teammate and leader. In my third year, I became a captain on the Concrete Canoe team and the Conference Chair. This meant an increase in responsibilities, of which I was more than happy to take on. Being a captain for Concrete Canoe helped me to grow as a leader. From working with the other captains of the team, I was able to see different leadership strategies and determine what would work best for me. I found that a successful leader is someone who is willing to work with others, not someone who just blindly commands others to do things. As one of the Conference Chair for the UCI Student Chapter, I had to communicate with students who would be attending conference, professors and various professionals to inform them about conference, and hotel staff to coordinate our stay in Arizona. Because I had to talk to so many different groups of people, I learned that it’s extremely important to word things in a way that would get the intended meaning across accurately to avoid miscommunication. At this time, I was also interning for the City of Costa Mesa. This experience was my first exposure to what it’s like to work with people on my team and with the public. Again, effective communication played a big part in the success of my role as an engineering intern. During the previous school year, I was Project Manager for the Concrete Canoe team. This experience was undoubtedly one of the most valuable experiences of my life thus far. Being put in this position helped me to develop my leadership and communication skills. While, admittedly, I’d made a couple of mistakes along the way, I was able to lead my team to a 7-place improvement through careful budgeting, planning early, and good communication. I’ve had to learn how to bounce back from unexpected situations and to think on my feet when something doesn’t go the way it was planned. Over this last summer, I interned for Northrop Grumman as a Stress Analysis Intern. As an intern with the Northrop Grumman Corporation, I was able to see what it would be like to work for a corporation and also really give myself confidence that Structural Engineering is something that I’d like to do. Currently, I’m leading UCI’s Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Seismic Design Competition Team, as well as helping to plan the 2017 Pacific Southwest Conference. From my experiences in these last four years, I know that Structural Engineering is something that I’m really interested and would like to pursue in the short term. But ultimately, I’d like to become a Project Manager for an engineering firm. As for now, I’m currently applying to attend Graduate School to get my Masters in Structural Engineering.

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