Billy Basuni

Scholarship Status: Awarded 2nd Place
Scholarship Awarded: Achievement Award
University: California State University, Long Beach
Date of Graduation: 12/2013


As a civil engineering major, often times I am asked the question “What exactly is civil engineering?” ASCE defines civil engineering as the design and maintenance of public works such as roads, bridges, water and energy systems as well as public facilities like ports, railways, and airports. I, on the other hand, prefer to answer the question with “Civil engineering is what you live in. It’s all around you. It’s everything that you see.” From as low as unseen underground utilities to neck-breaking skyscrapers, and paved roads defining the horizon to maps used to follow directions, civil engineering is a career that provides people with their daily 360˚ view. Without civil engineers, people would not have the convenient access to the essentials in life such as water, power, streetlights, proper disposal systems, subway systems, highways, or dams. Every time you turn on the faucet, you expect water to come out without even thinking that a water engineer designed a pump and water line to make this action possible. A traffic engineer designed the font size on each traffic sign for one to be able to clearly distinguish guidelines in order to maintain proper traffic flow. Geotechnical and structural engineers design foundations hundreds of feet deep underground in order to sustain buildings that stand thousands of feet tall. Large or small, all projects require civil engineers to understand how to plan, project-manage, select materials, schedule, analyze and design. All things considered, the appreciation that I owe for the civil engineering profession amounts to every bit of detailed effort that is put into every project regardless of which discipline or what size of project. Ultimately done for the greater good of the public, the works of civil engineers is yet often overseen and unrecognized by most of society, which is honorably the most humbling part about it all. Growing up, I have spent periods of my life in the third world country and fourth most populated country in the world – Indonesia. Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia and my birthplace, is susceptible to landslides, flooding, chaotic traffic, and other disasters. This is a result of public facilities being in conditions that are poor beyond measure. Earlier this year, 47 deaths were tallied caused by a flooding in the city. The flood lasted for 18 days and was a result of clogged drainage systems due to improper dumping and draining. Overall, the daily living condition of society in Indonesia is far below par and the room for improvement is boundless. As an upcoming civil engineer, I have great aspirations to help make a difference in environments like Jakarta. I have recognized the power of what civil engineers are capable of accomplishing for his/her society and with the right mindset and tools, nothing but greatness can be achieved. Currently interning for the City of Anaheim Public Works Department, I have the fortunate opportunity of experiencing what it requires to maintain and improve a sustainable and effective working community. Involvements through professional clubs such as ASCE have also helped me develop as a more valuable individual and engineer. While although structural engineering is my main focus, this will not limit me from learning as much as possible about every other aspect of civil engineering to my extensive measure. I intend to use my passion and enthusiastic commitment to become a worthy civil engineer and provide for the greater good of society.

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