Engineers Persevering & 2020 Unvention

Melody Gonzalez, E.I., FL Q ’18

Growing up in a small town in Venezuela, Melody Gonzalez noticed a variety of infrastructure breakdowns including a less than efficient water system. After graduating from high school, she made the decision to study petroleum engineering and headed to the United States.

As a single mother of two children, recently divorced, who barely spoke English, and didn’t have any professional degree in the U.S., Gonzalez decided things had to change, so she started taking English-language lessons and enrolled at Miami Dade College. Getting into an actual university was beyond her wildest dreams, which is why she considers the day she got her welcome letter as one of the happiest days of her life. From there, Florida International University became her second home, her happy place, and the turning point to her finally feeling like she belonged.

She joined several organizations during her time at FIU, including the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and Tau Beta Pi (Florida Theta Chapter). Gonzalez graduated with a degree in civil engineering from FIU.

While volunteering for an outreach activity at FIU, she learned about the summer internship program at Black & Veatch (BV), in the water and power industry. During her senior year of college, she started working at BV. She was working full-time at BV and part-time as a research assistant managing the Engineers on Wheels program at the Wall of Wind at FIU, all while taking summer classes and caring for her kids. The experience Gonzalez got during that summer was priceless. It was one of the hardest periods of her student life, but she wouldn’t change a thing.

Today, she works as a civil engineer at BV. As Gonzalez reflects on her journey, she hopes has set an example for her kids and can be an inspiration to other women who might be thinking that it can’t be done. 

Read the full story in her words here.

2020 Unvention Oct. 17 – Nov. 7 Registration is Open

The Unvention Event Website is live and Registration is OPEN!

Please head to the Unvention Event page.

A few updates/announcements:

1. Registration is open to ALL Tau Beta Pi members! Advertise to your members and let them know they must register if they plan on attending multiple events!

2. Certain events will be live streamed and recorded. The Association Awards honoring our members will also be posted! Be sure to check out the “YouTube videos” tab on the Unvention page.

3. Tell your members about the Resume Workshop and Recruiting Fair! These links are also available on the Unvention Event page.

4. T-shirt and hoodie orders are live!

Felipe Valdez, CA U ’16

At 16, he was faced with a life-changing decision—should he stay in Mexico with his family and get a job or move back to the United States, where he was born, and live with extended family so he could continue going to school?

He felt his only option was to move to the U.S., leaving his parents behind, in order to continue his education and become a better person. That difficult decision set Valdez on the path that led to what he is today— a Sacramento State engineering grad who in August started work as an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.

At Sac State, Valdez became involved in multiple student organizations such as Tau Beta Pi (California Upsilon Chapter), Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers, Leadership Initiative Program, and the MESA Engineering Program, which supports underrepresented students in engineering and science. Inside the classroom, he appreciated the opportunity to get practical research experience and develop meaningful relationships with professors.

“I truly enjoyed the combination of hands-on and research that comes with the engineering program,” he said. “I got the experience that has now prepared me for the workforce.”

Read the complete story for more information and Valdez’s inspirational advice from the Sac State Made Blog.

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