In the search for professional progression, I found myself asking one simple question “What can I do to improve my professional career?” Being a first-generation college graduate without a familial source for advice, I decided to ask every professional engineer in my office this question. Responses varied from professional certifications to advanced degrees in engineering or business. One mentor’s advice was particularly interesting, participation in a professional organization.
It didn’t take me long to realize how valuable this advice was. I joined the Acadiana Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers and immediately saw the benefits of being part of this organization. Founded in 1852, ASCE is our nation’s oldest engineering society. The organization represents more than 150,000 members of the engineering profession and provides continuing education to all levels of membership. They are actively involved in the codes and standards that protect the public. The organization reaches out to aspiring students, providing education, activities and guidance. ASCE participates in community outreach programs to enhance the quality of life and have a positive impact throughout the nation.
My membership in ASCE Acadiana Branch has created many opportunities for networking with others in the engineering field. I was able to gain valuable information through meetings, conferences and continuing education opportunities. As a local branch board member for ASCE, I am able to share valuable industry information with my co-workers and I have the privilege to mentor aspiring engineering students.
Participation in professional organizations is a great way for young engineers to gain firsthand experience in leadership, public speaking, planning & organizing, and networking. Soft skills that may be underdeveloped from formal undergraduate education, but that are essential for professional success. Through ASCE I have been able to network with other engineers with various backgrounds and specialties, I have been able to work with these individuals to plan, organize, and execute community service events, educational & social luncheons, and fundraisers for the benefit of our local engineering community.
I am fortunate to have the support of my company and my co-workers who see the value in my involvement in this well-respected professional organization. I have just begun my term as President-Elect of ASCE Acadiana and look forward to the year ahead. We have many opportunities for our colleagues in the civil engineering field to get involved. We will continue to provide opportunities for interaction between civil engineering university students and the professional community, we will emphasize community involvement, and sponsor continuing education seminars.
Bringing value to the local engineering community by serving on the board has been a pleasure and has allowed me to greatly expand my network. I look forward to continuing to be active within the organization for years to come. I encourage everyone in the field of engineering to join ASCE and help us in our effort as we bring the global civil engineering community together.