In recent years, students have pursued graduate work in civil, structural, or environmental engineering, and engineering or construction management at Carnegie Mellon, Columbia University, Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, Colorado State, MIT, Dartmouth, North Carolina State University, Northwestern, Clemson, Tufts, University of Massachusetts, Michigan Technological University, University of Washington, University of West Indies (Trinidad), Villanova University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Students were also studying architecture and historic preservation at the University of Pennsylvania, and biomedical engineering at Drexel University.
Graduates in the last three years have accepted engineering and management trainee positions at Boucher and James, Bohler Engineering, Clark Construction, Cintas Corp., Dewberry, Pennoni Associates, Turner Construction, Tutor Perini Corporation, Con Edison, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Boswell Engineering, Cherry Weber & Associates, F.X. Browne, Inc., First Capital Engineering, Schoor DePalma Engineers, Environmental Partners Group, Whiting-Turner, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other firms.
Seeing a need for leaders in engineering, Anthony Giralo ’11 is now pursuing a master’s in engineering management. He finds unique challenges in straddling the corporate and high-tech worlds.
“It’s thinking about problems in both technical and business terms, and attempting to merge the two together in my thought process when presenting and reporting about topics,” Giralo says. To that end, the summa cum laude graduate and EXCEL Scholar in civil engineering attends classes at both the Tuck School of Business and the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. The elite program accepts just 50 students.
In addition to his studies, Giralo interns in the aerospace division of Eaton Corp., working in a plant that designs and fabricates dynamic seals for jet engines. His summer project? Reassess and optimize the plant’s metallurgical lab.
Giralo credits his undergrad experiences with his success. “Lafayette gave me a complete set of technical skills, while also developing my writing, presentation, and interpersonal skills,” he says. “Lafayette also taught me that it is important to network with people and spend time building relationships that may be beneficial down the road.”
In both his graduate studies and his internship, Giralo applies big picture lessons he learned at Lafayette: “Don’t give up if your first idea does not work, open up to new ideas, and don’t take anything for granted.”
At the Croton Water Treatment Plant in the Bronx, N.Y., Daniella Colón ’10 of URS Corp. ensures what is on the blueprint gets built—and correctly. A civil inspector on this and other heavy construction projects, she enjoys watching new structures rise from nothing.
“It’s really interesting to see all the small details that need attending to prior to putting in a window or locating a light switch,” Colón notes. “I have the opportunity to see how components come together to change the function and form of a space.”
To the POSSE Scholar, Lafayette provided key tools she needed for a career advantage. “Class work prepared me for the volume of professional and concise writing I need to produce. I write daily reports on the activities I cover, and my ability to write keeps me competitive against other inspectors with more experience,” Colón says. “The professors used real world examples, often based on their own experiences, which allowed me to choose this career path. My job experience has been precisely as I expected.”
Having honed a keen eye for details, Colón uses her civil engineering background to create a safer, better life for New Yorkers. “I definitely take pride in finding and correcting mistakes quickly,” she says. “It saves the Department of Environmental Protection time and money when inspectors work effectively.”
With four years of undergrad work in civil engineering and in international studies now behind her, Sarah Welsh-Huggins ’12 opted for a break—though briefly. In January 2013, she begins graduate studies and research at University of Colorado–Boulder.
“I just accepted the offer of a research assistantship with my future graduate adviser, Dr. Abbie Liel, to work on a National Science Foundation-funded project,” Welsh-Huggins says, also noting her degree plans switched from a master’s to a Ph.D. “From our research using nonlinear structural analysis and probabilistic life-cycle assessments, my dissertation will involve an interdisciplinary study of how green building design may provide cost-effective hazard-mitigation options for developing communities in earthquake-prone regions.”
Welsh-Huggins hasn’t been resting postgraduation. She took a graduate course in natural disaster management at the University of Iceland’s Earthquake Engineering Research Centre. In mid-September, she lectured at Lafayette on what she learned. She hopes also to share this course with students at her former high school.
In addition, Welsh-Huggins joined a Spanish-language group in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to bolster her fluency and prepare for a future working in Central and South America. She also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, and says, “After four years of studying how to design structures, I am now gaining the real-world knowledge of how to actually build them.”