Board Member Spotlight November 2020
As part of our new Board Member Appreciation Program, we are showcasing a board member in our bimonthly 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 November Spotlight, we would like to introduce...
We asked her to state her name, company, and position(s) in ASCE:
Transportation Engineer | Caltrans District 8
Former Co-Chair for Community Service Committee | 2018-2020
We also asked her a few questions about the following:
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in southern Vietnam and immigrated to the United States when I was in 5th grade. I have resided in Orange County ever since.
What made you want to become an engineer?
When I think of an engineer, I think of thinking outside of the box and finding ways to improve people’s lives.
Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
I enjoy baking and cooking during my free time. My favorite desserts are cream puffs and cheesecakes. I also enjoy cooking fried chicken. Fried chicken is actually my favorite food. In addition, I love attending concerts. I have been to BTS, Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, and Zedd concerts. After COVID is over, I hope to see Martin Garrix.
Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
...drinking tea and watching documentaries.
What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?
I attended UCI and have a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering with a minor in Economics. I am a member of Tau Beta Pi and Phi Beta Kappa. During school I was part of UCI ASCE and was involved in the 2017 PSWC. I was also a member of SHPE.
WORK & PROFESSIONAL LIFE
Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
I just started my Construction rotation to our district field office in Palm Desert. Currently in Construction, I help the Resident Engineer with field inspection and corresponding paperwork with the contractor. Before my rotation to Construction, I was in Design Oversight. During my time in Design Oversight, I assisted with reviewing the GAD and Design Standard Decision Documents for the XpressWest. I was also the Project Lead for the I-10 Mt. Vernon project, I-10 Truck Climbing Lane project, and the SR-210 Alders Ave IC project, in which I assisted in the coordination between local agencies and Caltrans functional units as well as distributing and reviewing design documents.
What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
My favorite part about being a Civil Engineer is being able to see how my projects directly benefit the community I live in. It is such a great thing for me to tell my family and friends that I was part of these projects.
What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
Having the technical experience and being able to communicate with people are the skills that I find most valuable to focus on in my career. I believe that having the technical skill comes with experience working on many different projects and encountering different sets of obstacles. I believe that having good communication skills help convey your technical knowledge more effectively.
What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
I enjoy working for the public and learning as much as I can. Being on the rotation program in Caltrans has taught me that there is so much to learn. Everyone that I have met during my rotation has taught me so much. I believe that by being on rotation, I get to see a bigger picture of an entire project. I started working for CH2M Hill (now Jacobs) before I started working for Caltrans. I met a lot of talented people there. If I could start my career differently, I would start studying right away for my PE license.
ASCE & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
I got involved with ASCE back when I was studying at UCI. I decided to join the YMF chapter to meet more liked-minded professionals. I heard about the Community Service Committee chairs being opened and in need of someone to help out. I enjoy volunteering so this was the perfect opportunity for me. There are so many people in the organization that want to help out the community and support the committee. That is one of the reasons I chose to stay involved.
How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
Through ASCE, I have met many people in my field who are so passionate about Civil Engineering. I have learned about ENV SP through my mentor, Sam Ali, and the importance of sustainability in our design. Whenever I am working on a project, I think about sustainability and if that can be incorporated into the project. Being involved with ASCE also keeps me up to date with current engineering issues and solutions.
Who is someone you admire and why?
I admire my mentors. They have helped shaped my career and inspired me to be a better person. Through them, I have learned to be kind, patient, and think creatively.
If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always be a sponge (absorb as much knowledge as you can).
Lastly, what would be your personal motto?
You are your greatest ally.
If you missed the last (October 2020) Board Member Spotlight, Esmeralda Briseno, you can click here to read her article.
To view the archive of all past Member Spotlights, click here.