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As part of our Member Appreciation Program, we are showcasing a member in our bi-monthly Board Member Spotlight. Our member spotlight recognizes members for their outstanding contributions to the profession and our local communities. For any questions regarding the program please email




Carlos De La Sancha

Engineer I
CSU Fullerton YMF Liaison
ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum


Where did you grow up?
I was born in Santa Ana after my family immigrated from Mexico, but I would say that Anaheim is where I grew up. I attended high school in Anaheim but I moved out to Los Angeles during my undergrad and currently reside in DTLA.

What made you want to become an engineer?
During my freshman year in high school, I joined the engineering program and got an early exposure to the idea of engineering. My biggest memory would be using modeling software to make my first model of lamp and the trip we took a class to Cal Poly Pomona. That trip opened my eyes to engineering. I remember my teacher made us look into the different industries our first year and civil engineering was the one that caught my attention. I had an idea from early on to pursue civil engineering and I always had a bigger interest in math and problem solving compared to history or English, so it seemed the best fit for me.

Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
Since I was in elementary school I was always interested in running. My 6th grade class had a 100 mile club and I remembering also signing up for the local races they had in OC such as the Brea and Chapman University 5k's. I was still interested in running even in high school as I joined cross country and track but cross country was definitely my favorite. I was preferred long distance and to this day I still try to find races to join, and a full marathon is on my bucket list. My favorite place to go on a hike would be Crystal Cove state park in OC but my favorite place to jog would be at Santa Monica Beach along the PCH (away from the Pier.) During middle school, was when I become a big film fan and to this day I still love going to the movies with friends. My favorite cinema is Frida Cinema in Santa Ana! I'm currently reading A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones books) and I really enjoy watching House of the Dragon as well. I have a big list of movies and TV shows that I want to watch that just keep growing. My all time favorite show has to be the Sopranos, I typically have a podcast talking about the show while I'm at work in the background. Recently, I got into golfing, so that is a new hobby and it's also been pretty fun going with friends to the range.

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me... my favorite coffee shop in Koreatown drinking a Spanish latte.

What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?
I am proud first-generation Latino and the first in my entire family to attend Cal State Fullerton. My first few semesters at CSUF was uneventful as I tried to navigate college life on my own and I was tried to find my footing and be in good standing with my classes. It wasn't until the pandemic when I decided to become more involved with my campus and seek more opportunities. During 2021, I became involved with the Institute of Transportation Engineers at CSUF and the transportation project apart of the Pacific Southwest Symposium (PSWS). For there I was still involved with the transportation project for three years along with being a board member for both ITE and ASCE. It was a great experience as I got to meet people and make great friends. I also conducted research my senior year with the Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship alongside a couple of my classmates and we traveled to Washington DC to attend the Transportation Research Board conference as fellows! I'm still grateful for those opportunities in undergrad as they lead me to where I am now.


Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
Currently as an Engineer I, I have mostly been in charge of sheet production for various plan sets such as layouts and profiles but I am also now responsible of the design aspect such as the design of profiles and alignments for roadway geometry. I am brand new to actual design and the modeling world but I am responsible for meeting the proper standards that are needed for our geometry such as for the grades, lanes, vertical clearance etc. 3D Modeling would have to be my favorite challenge so far because seeing the design in 3D gives it a different perspective and we get to see the whole picture of our geometry.

What project are you currently working on and what have you accomplished/what are your tasks? 
My current project would be the California High Speed Rail and so far I have had a couple submittals I had to coordinate with my team on sheet production and communicate what was needed for the project. As we move onto the following submittals, there is still move for design and that's where I've been coordinating with my team to design the roads and the profiles according to the existing conditions and coordinate with the other disciplines to see what aspects affect each team.

What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
I would have to say that my favorite part would be coming up with the design and seeing how it ties into the larger picture of the project and using problem-solving skills whenever an issue rises. I honestly enjoy learning why we do what we do when it comes to roadway design and how it affects the overall project.

What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
Critical thinking, problem-solving skills. the motivation to learn and understand the work that is being done. Networking skills is also a very big one, I personally find it very rewarding meeting new people in the industry and being able to chat with them especially in an industry this small.

What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
In all honestly, transportation was the first opportunity that came my way during undergrad where I became involved with ITE and through there I was able to land my first internship in roadway design and I've decided to keep that same trajectory. I feel very fortunate to enjoy roadway design as I have been able to stick with it these last few years and I plan to stay in the same industry for the years to come.


How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
It was after virtual instruction during the COVID years where I wanted become involved because I was fed up with the zoom classes and wanted to build those connections with my peers on campus while also be involved with actual engineering projects. I will forever be grateful for being involved and the friends I made along the way. I decided to stay involved because I want to give back to the current undergrads at CSUF and give the students advice that I wish I knew when I was in their position. I also finding it very rewarding to be able to have the opportunity to speak to students about my experience and about the transportation industry.

How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
The student chapter of ASCE really helped me during my undergrad and now YMF has helped me with post-grad and to still stay involved and meet new people in the industry while also giving back to the current undergrads.

Who is someone you Admire and Why?
My mom would be my biggest admiration because she has been so supportive in my decisions and has always believed in me. My mom came to Guatemala when she was a teenager and went to community college and her being able to overcome the challenges as an immigrant in the US has always been the biggest inspiration to me.

If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?
I would say, stay involved even after college, as it adds more color to your life to be able to give back and also meet great people working in the same field as you.

Lastly, what would be your personal motto?
"We live and we learn." As engineers we are always learning but we are also capable of making mistakes in and out of the work field and it's always a learning opportunity to grow as better engineer but more importantly as a better person.


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