Board Member Spotlight
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 June/July Spotlight, we would like to introduce...
We asked her to state her name, company, and position(s) in ASCE:
Natalie Luna, EIT
City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering, Civil Engineering Associate
OC YMF University Outreach, Practitioner Advisor for CSUF
We also asked her a few questions about the following:
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Anaheim, California.
What made you want to become an engineer?
Many reasons! Throughout my education, math was my favorite subject and I enjoyed applying my math skills to assist my dad with home improvements. I also remember reading books and being fascinated by how cities were developed throughout history.
It wasn’t until I found myself doing an activity in high school for my physics class that my teacher encouraged me to give MESA, a Math Engineering Science and Architecture class a try. I loved it and after learning about the different Engineering fields, I knew that Civil Engineering was for me.
Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
I enjoy being outdoors, snowboarding in the winter, staying active, and trying new things.
Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
... making a high protein breakfast and enjoying a cup of salted caramel cream cold brew, before heading out to the gym or outdoor jog.
What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?
I graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. I was mostly involved in Chi Epsilon and ASCE. While in ASCE I participated in the construction of the concrete canoe and had the opportunity to paddle for a PSWC, now referred to as PSWS.
WORK & PROFESSIONAL LIFE
Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
I was in the land development industry for about six years. I had the opportunity to work on large residential tract developments, commercial, industrial, and federal projects. My tasks were to design for utilities, grading, draft plan and profiles using Civil3D, and developing plan sets from preliminary to final construction documents.
Now I work for the City of Los Angeles, in the Wastewater Conveyance Construction Division. I am the Project Engineer for a couple sewer rehabilitation projects. My tasks include field visits, creating constructability reviews, processing RFI’s, addressing change orders, allowance orders, and communicating with the contractor.
What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
I enjoy being a part of every stage of a project from start to finish and working in a team. It’s the most rewarding when a project is completed and I get to see the positive impact it's made to the community.
What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
Communication and analytical skills. It’s important to communicate effectively with technical or non-technical teams. Being analytical about problems that arise in design or construction, developing solutions, and resolving promptly is crucial. Both go hand in hand and have significant weight on the project's success.
What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
My interests and coursework in college was heavy in Structural Engineering. When I graduated, I wanted to gain some work experience and exposure to other Civil Engineering fields to help me determine what I wanted to specialize in. I am happy that I started my career in land development because I was able to work on a wide range of projects, get exposure to other disciplines, and overall it helped me become a well-rounded engineer. I wouldn’t change a thing.
ASCE & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
In college I was involved because I simply wanted to hang out with friends. After a couple years of working in the industry, I felt it was time to give back and apply my skills outside of work. When the opportunity to be a Liaison for CSUF presented itself, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to share my experience and knowledge with students and hopefully help them in their journeys to becoming young professionals.
How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
ASCE is a great resource for everyone. I enjoy connecting with others, but more so feel fortunate to contribute to the professional development of college students. I hope to make a profound effect along the way.
Who is someone you Admire and Why?
I admire my parents for teaching me to persevere through trials and tribulations.
If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?
Find a mentor and build your network.
Lastly, what would be your personal motto?
Strive for progress over perfection.
If you missed the last (June/July 2023) Board Member Spotlight, Megan Godinez, you can click here to read his article.
To view the archive of all past Member Spotlights, click here.