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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




Nathaniel Kapongo

Transportation Engineering Associate
Los Angeles Department of Transportation
CSULB Practitioner Advisor, WRYMC 2023 Treasurer
ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum


Where did you grow up?
Downey, CA

What made you want to become an engineer?
Both my parents work in medicine and after seeing how much school they had to do, I said, "nah." During high school, my school had PLTW (Project Lead the Way), a series of different classes that exposed us to different types of engineering. We spent a month focusing on trusses and bridges which made me start looking into civil engineering while applying to colleges. I got into CSULB and the rest is history.

Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
Food, god I love food. On my Instagram, I have a highlight reel called "One Bite Reviews" where I'll take one big bit and give it a score. I'm also a very big gamer which helps me distress after a long work day. I'm a LA native so Lakers in 5!

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
sleeping and quidditch.

What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?
I attended California State University, Long Beach, and received my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Transportation in 2021. I was heavily involved in ASCE since my freshman year with different roles such as Conference Chair, Vice-President, and President. I've been awarded the ASCE OC YMF Achievement Scholarship and the STEM Advantage Scholarship during college.


Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
I've been working at LADOT for 4 years now working in different sections. I first started as an intern working in Signal Design where I used AutoCAD to create base maps for intersections and propose any new plans. Now I work in our Metro Programs Division where I review signal, geometric, and construction plans. I'm currently working on the Metro Orange Line Project which will be a rapid bus route from North Hollywood to Northridge that will never have to stop at intersections!

What project are you currently working on and what have you accomplished/what are your tasks? 

What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
My favorite part of being a civil engineer is seeing a project that I designed being built.

What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
People skills, being able to work alongside anyone. Everyone has different work and communication styles that you will need to adapt to.

What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
I originally started with a focus on water resources but after an internship in water, I realized it wasn't for me. I had a great professor her name is Dr. Parentela, for a transportation class that I loved, and I spoke many times about working in the transportation field with her. Also, I hate sitting in traffic, so I want to do something about it. I honestly wouldn't change anything that I've done.


How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
I went to the first ASCE meeting of the year as a freshman and Dr. Redman said I have to be President. I stayed in because I was just having so much fun and learning a lot

How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
My favorite thing about ASCE is just constantly meeting new people across the globe.

Who is someone you Admire and Why?
I admire my parents they came to America from DRC and had to start over. They both went back to graduate school while raising two kids and doing everything they can to provide for us. They also instilled in me the value of hard work and education.

If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?
Relax, and make sure you make time for yourself, your hobbies, and your friends/families.

Lastly, what would be your personal motto?
F it, we ball.


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