By Eva Schexnider
This June, I was awarded the 2019 ASCE Student Leadership Award, for my leadership and dedication to the Texas Tech University Student Chapter. I was recognized with this national award at ASCE Texas Section’s Texas Civil Engineering Conference (CECON) in September. In October, the Texas Tech ASCE Student Chapter invited me to their Casino Night event, in order to honor me with a second award dedicated from the Chapter. In April, I was also awarded the Outstanding Student Award from the Texas Tech University Civil Engineering Department faculty and members of the civil, environmental, and construction engineering advisory council, primarily for the leadership roles I held in the ASCE student chapter, along with my other contributions to the department.
It is so rewarding to be a recipient of the ASCE Student Leadership award. I love what I do with ASCE and did not expect this level of recognition. There were definitely times where I was unsure of how to make a difficult lead a group, but I always used the opportunities to learn and let others learn. I owe so much of my leadership skills and development to my fellow student chapter officers and advisors for allowing me to grow with their support.
I attended Texas Tech University for undergrad and graduated in May 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. I am currently enrolled at Texas Tech University online, pursuing my Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering with a focus in water resources. I have been a registered member of ASCE since 2012, when I was a sophomore in high school, after my dad signed me up for the student membership when I told him I wanted to be a civil engineer. Of course, I was not an active member until I began college in the Fall 2014 semester. I was elected to Secretary of the Student Chapter at my first meeting. I would not have had the same opportunities to professionally grow and develop to where I am today without my ASCE membership. I was able to attend a dozen conferences and symposiums during my 5 years as a student member, which allowed me to network with other students and professionals several times a year, as well as keep up developments of practices and technology in the industry. My first internship was a direct result of networking over the years.
At my first Texas Tech ASCE Student Chapter meeting in Fall 2014, I ran for the position of secretary and was elected to serve the following calendar year (2015). A few weeks later, Texas Tech was chosen to host the ASCE Texas Student Symposium, where the Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe competitions would be hosted together in one professional student conference. One of the senior officers asked me to take the lead in communication, which evolved into my position as the conference chair for two years while we planned and hosted the event (2014-2016).
After my time as conference chair, I was elected President of Texas Tech ASCE Student Chapter and served for two years (2016-2018). During my first term as President, I had experience helping plan two Student Symposiums (Texas Tech in 2016 and University of El Paso in 2017) with the Student Activities Symposium Committee. I noticed there was a lack of coordination between the student chapter leaders in the non-competition season, which resulted in issues if contact information was updated for when mailers needed to be sent out. During the UTEP Symposium Student Business Meeting, I made a motion to begin monthly conference calls between the student chapter leaders, effectively creating the position of Global Relations Chair within the Texas Tech ASCE Student Chapter. I held this position for two years (2017-2019). These conference calls turned out to be a beneficial resource during the divorce of the Steel Bridge Competition from ASCE and the Student Symposium. I was able to assist the Section in keeping Student Chapters informed on updates, as well as relaying questions from the students to the Section.
The aspect of ASCE that I value the most is the camaraderie between members and the professional connections that develop into friendships. As I have grown professionally, it has been amazing to see how everyone remains connected throughout the year, even though they may only see each other in person at large events. Even personally, I recognize more and more faces each year that I can call colleagues and friends, and receive many kind words and encouragement to continue my growth in ASCE.
I work for CivilTech Engineering, Inc. as an EIT on the Water Resources team. I started full time with the company after interning in the summer and winter before my graduation. I was actually hired on the spot as an intern after networking at the 2018 ASCE Texas Student Symposium Career Fair in College Station. I am very fortunate to work for a company that is so supportive of my continued involvement in ASCE, whether it is to attend conferences or serve in a leadership role, and allows me flexibility to continue my secondary education in my Master’s program.
For now, my main focus is on developing in my career and completing my Master’s degree. I plan to take the PE exam within the next year and apply for licensure following completion of my 4 years of experience. I will continue to volunteer at events with the Houston branch when I am able and will eventually volunteer for a leadership position. After working closely with the Texas Section Board of Direction during my time as a student member, I hope to work my way up to some of the Texas Section roles, and continue to grow within ASCE!