Chelsea Verzwyvelt

Chelsea Verzwyvelt

Project Engineer

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Was good at math in school, but didn't know how to apply that to college major.
Knew I wanted to work in the field somewhere.
Decided on a major of Civil Engineering and applied to well known engineering schools.
Looked for intern opportunities while in college to see different areas of engineering.
Graduated and went to work for a very large engineering firm offering lots of travel oppertunities.
Lived in 3 different states in one year and hated it.
Looked for a smaller company that was more localized, was much happier.
Economy down turn lead to a move to the consultant side of project management.
Keep following my journey

Education

High School
Bachelor
Civil Engineering, General
Unversity of California-Irvine

Career

Project Engineer

I help in the oversight of heavy civil roadway projects.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Engineering
Numbers
Problem Solving

Day to Day

Get up at about 5am to get to the project site (which might be 40 miles away) before the crew. Meet with superintendents and foremen to go over the day's activities. Then it is different everyday depending on what is going on, which is what I love. There are problems to solve with subcontractors and with the Owner, to build the job. I have to get all the paperwork done, track costs and payments, review shop drawings and formwork drawings. No two days are really the same.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Sign up to be a apprentice laborer, or carpenter if you want to work in the construction industry. The information you receive on field jargon and how things are built is extremely valuable. It gives you an idea what kind of people you will be working with, the work environment, and an understanding of how the industry works.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

You don't have to go to a four year college and get a degree to become a civil engineer. Go to a vocational school and get a construction management certification. Then work in the field and learn from those you work with and supplement that education with continued class room education. A college degree is not required to get a Professional Engineer license, it might take you longer to obtain, but you will get more value out of the additional years in the field.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:

undergrad
Bachelor
Civil Engineering, General

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"You should hurry up and get your Professional Engineer's stamp so you can get a good stable job at a design firm, because that is the only way you are going to have a chance in the engineering world."

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation College Student