Civil Engineering Student Feature: Lauren Jaramillo

May 11, 2011

lauren-jaramilloCivil engineering senior Lauren Jaramillo successfully balances school, exercise, participation in student organizations, and having fun. Her achievements, enthusiasm, and passion for civil engineering are a reflection of hard work, dedication to her field of study, successful time management, and support from the CE community.

I was curious about how Lauren manages this balancing act. As engineering students, many of us struggle with school/life balance. We’re no strangers to late nights, excessive caffeine consumption, and the occasional ‘I-accidentally-showed-up-to-school-naked’ nightmare. Despite our demanding course loads and dedication to our studies, however, some of us actually manage to not only excel in our classes, but to work, exercise, participate in student organizations and, believe it or not, have fun. I met with Lauren to discover how she manages this balancing act.

Lauren’s Civil Engineering Experience

Lauren is an Albuquerque native and transferred to UNM after two years at NMSU. She has worked in the hydraulics lab for the past two years and, after graduating, will resume her studies in hydraulics and hydrology at Stanford University. Lauren has been admitted to the university’s Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology graduate program, an exciting achievement.

Lauren points out that could not have met her goals without the support of the CE Department faculty and her fellow peers. "The CE professors are supportive and flexible," Lauren says. "Most have open-door policies and are always eager to answer questions, discuss research, and expose students to the various aspects of civil engineering."

Getting Things Done

Laura is also a UNM student athlete on the Track and Field team, competing in the pole vault event. Once again she asserts that she could not have done it without the support of the CE community.

Lauren’s Path to Civil Engineering

It’s apparent when speaking with Lauren that she is passionate about civil engineering. When asked what sparked her interest in the field, Lauren reflected back to high school and recounted experiences from both her junior and senior years. As a junior, she completed a physics project involving some simple bridge-testing. Although the project was basic she really had a fun time with it. As a senior, she went on to participate in NM MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) – a pre-college program that prepares high school students for careers in math, engineering, or science. Involvement in the program continued to foster Lauren’s interest in civil engineering.

Giving Back to the Engineering Community

As an undergraduate, Lauren continues to involve herself in various engineering student organizations. She is currently a member of HESO (Hispanic Engineering & Science Organization) and is also secretary of UNM’s ASCE student chapter. In HESO, Lauren helped organize the 2011 Science Extravaganza, an on-campus event held primarily for high school students enrolled in NM MESA. The event included roughly 100 student attendees and gave kids an opportunity to hear speakers from UNM’s engineering departments, as well as participate in projects and presentations. Lauren also enjoys her role as secretary of ASCE, which organizes events such as BBQ's, guest speakers and meetings for relationship building amongst students. Additionally, the group recently competed in the Steel Bridge Competition, taking an impressive sixth place.

Life Outside of the Centennial Engineering Center

As important and demanding as school is, it’s necessary to remember to stop every once-in-a-while and enjoy a non-school related activity or two. For Lauren, taking a break usually means visiting her family’s ranch near Grants, playing a round of golf, or simply hanging out with friends.

Making a Difference as a Civil Engineer

Students choose to study civil engineering for many different reasons. It’s a more diverse field than some people realize and Lauren says that professors in the CE Department are eager to help students understand the broad scope of CE. She’s excited to be a civil engineer because there interesting changes are taking place in the world that directly affect civil engineers. For example, a growing number of spatial and environmental limitations mean that resource management, water conservation, waste and wastewater treatment, and smart building and transportation system design are no longer optional considerations, they are critical. Given the changes taking place within the field, Lauren sees an opportunity to contribute to society in a very meaningful way. "We must learn how to keep things simple, avoid over-engineering and use resources in an intelligent way; in doing so, we contribute to the betterment of society," says Lauren.