In August 2005 I moved from a little country in Central America called Belize to New Orleans, Louisiana. I was excited about attending the University of New Orleans to pursue a career in Civil Engineering. However, I was forced to evacuate only two weeks after my arrival, as Hurricane Katrina devastated my new school and the city I now call home. As the rebuilding process began to take shape, I was fortunate enough to resume my studies in January 2006. By May 2009 I graduated with honors, receiving my Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering. Although I was proud of my accomplishment, I was faced with a new challenge.
My Biggest Challenge
As an international student, I had exactly 60 days to find full-time work before I was required to leave the country. After a week or two of traveling and spending time with my family, I became serious about finding a job. At the time, the go-to job seeking website was Monster.com, and I figured it couldn’t be that hard. Unfortunately, most of the summer went by with only a few interviews and time was running out.
Fully determined, I purchased some notable resume paper, made a handful of copies, and set out on foot to downtown New Orleans. Like a true engineer, I mapped out my day starting from the North end of Poydras Street, with the offices on the 1500 block. Most workplaces were reluctant to speak to a recent graduate, especially without a scheduled interview. But as I made my way to the 1100 block of Poydras, I discovered a company that was uniquely different.
I walked into Suite 1550 and asked if I could give my resume to the office manager. I was greeted by Mr. Gerry Satterlee who was kind enough to invite me to sit down and tell him a little bit about myself. Despite the warm welcome and willingness to speak with me, I was informed that there were no open positions at the time. Without any concrete interviews or job offers, I went home that day feeling defeated. Shortly thereafter, my luck would change when I received that fateful phone call. As it turned out, there was enough backlog to support the addition of a new engineer to the New Orleans office. The next day I was invited to return for an official interview.
I am now entering my 10th year of employment with C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates, L.L.C. and could not be more grateful to Mr. Satterlee for taking a chance on me. Here, I have grown both professionally and personally from a young engineer in training to a professional engineer.
Pictured Left to Right: Chris Roussel, Engineering Technician, Justin Guillot, Engineer Intern, Kiara Horton, Student Intern, Yelena Rivera, Engineer, Newell Schindler, New Orleans Operations Leader