Board Member Spotlight November 2021
As part of our new Board Member Appreciation Program, we are showcasing a board member in our monthly Board Member Spotlight. Our board member spotlight recognizes board members of outstanding contributions to the profession and our local communities. For any questions regarding the program please contact the Past President PastPresident@ymf-oc.org.
For the Spotlight, we would like to introduce...
JANELLE GONZALEZ, EIT
We asked her to state her name, company, and position(s) in ASCE:
Janelle Gonzalez, E.I.T. (she/her/hers)
Design Engineer | Mark Thomas
University Outreach Chair
Where did you grow up?
What made you want to become an engineer?
When I was younger, my favorite show was Extreme Makeover Home Edition. The idea of creating spaces for people was exciting to me. In Elementary school, our teacher gave us a project with no prompt. She asked us to do whatever we wanted to do in the future. I created a “City of the Future” model with an underground city, roads, functioning streetlights, and even a way to filter our runoff. From there, my family and teachers helped me channel my interests towards a major. I found that Civil Engineering was the path for me.
Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
I am food’s #1 fan and love finding new places to eat. I enjoy spending time with my family, watching TV, and anything Disney. In terms of sports, I used to be a gymnast, ran track, played baseball, and played tennis. These days, you can find me on the couch watching the Dodgers, Raiders, and the Lakers.
Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
…eating breakfast burritos with my family after church.
What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?
I attended the University of California, Irvine and received my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2020. I served as ASCE UCI’s External Activities Coordinator (2018-2019) and as the ASCE UCI President (2019-2020). I also served as UCI’s Engineering Ambassador Student Director (2018-2020); leading the undergraduate recruitment efforts for the school of engineering. Lastly, I was involved in Engineering Student Council and Girls Engineering Change. For honors, I earned scholarships from ASCE OC and UCI’s CEE Affiliates. Most notably, I was awarded UCI’s 2019-2020 Civil and Environmental Engineering Undergraduate Student of the Year, 2019 ASCE OC Outstanding Civil Engineering Student Award, and the 2020 Dynamic Womxn of UCI Award.
WORK & PROFESSIONAL LIFE
Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
At Mark Thomas, I work as a transportation design engineer. Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot. Most significantly, I’ve had the opportunity to work on our Subsurface Drainage and Analysis, Stage Construction Staging, and Stage Construction modeling.
What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
My favorite part about being a Civil Engineer is how the projects I work on serve the community.
What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
As a transportation design engineer, it is valuable to be resourceful. Understanding what manuals, standards, or experts are available to you is key. However, good communication is one of the most important skills to have. Being able to communicate a design to a teammate, client, or the community is vital for any project.
What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
Originally, I wanted to specialize in water but after participating in the WTS Transportation Academy I changed my mind. I fell in love with transportation, because we connect communities and ultimately get everyone home to their families. Thankfully, I can say I wouldn’t start my career differently. However, I do wish I realized Civil Engineering is so much more than your specialization sooner and that it’s ok to change your path at any point in your career.
ASCE & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
How/Why did you get involved with ASCE? Why did you choose to stay involved?
My older sister, Gaby Gonzalez, has always been heavily involved in ASCE. When I was a senior in high school, she took me to my first PSWC to watch the steel bridge competition. I got involved because of Gaby, but I chose to stay because of the people and opportunities. OC Branch’s Social Committee took me in as a first year in college, OC YMF allowed me to work with University Outreach and Pathways, and ASCE UCI gave me an amazing leadership opportunity. Every part of my college experience and career has been impacted by ASCE and I can’t wait to see where it will take me.
How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
My favorite benefit of my involvement is the network I’ve built. The civil engineering community is a small world, and the relationships I’ve built with students and professionals are so rewarding.
Who is someone you admire and Why?
I admire my parents and grandparents, because they have always instilled the importance of an education and doing what I love. Being first generation can be tough, but they have supported me in every way possible. Everything I do is for my family.
If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?
Check in with yourself. Actively evaluate your priorities and boundaries and know that it is OK for them to change.
Lastly; What would be your personal motto?
Échale ganas mija
If you missed the last (October 2021) Board Member Spotlight, Lydia Chun, you can click here to read her article.
To view the archive of all past Member Spotlights, click here.