Student Spotlight: civil engineering student fascinated by structures

08.01.2013 | By Rob Vanya

Student Spotlight

San Jacinto College engineering student Vanessa Gonzalez is fascinated with buildings and structures and loves to build things. After earning an associate degree from San Jacinto College, she plans to transfer to the University of Houston and earn a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.

Student Spotlight: civil engineering student fascinated by structures

Rob Vanya -- August 1, 2013



QUESTION: What led to your interest in civil engineering? It’s rare to find a lady interested in such a career path.

VANESSA GONZALEZ: I have always been fascinated by buildings and almost every kind of structure, such as bridges, the Eifel Tower, and the Pyramids in Egypt. The engineering that goes into structures is amazing. It’s fascinating how large bridges and other structures are able to hold up under so much weight and pressure. Also, I have always liked to build things. When I was a child, I loved to build things with blocks and Legos. The first thing I remember building with Legos as a child was a robot. I still have Legos and still like to build things whenever my little niece comes over for a visit.

Q: Why did you choose San Jacinto College?

A: A lot of my friends chose to attend other colleges, and there are colleges closer to where I live. But I think San Jacinto College is a way better school. It offers more variety, and I felt I would get a much better education.

Q: What degree will you earn at San Jacinto College, and what are your plans once you finish at San Jacinto College?

A: I will earn an associate degree in 2014, and then transfer to the University of Houston, where I will pursue a bachelor’s degree, and possibly a master’s in civil engineering.

Q: You are the first person in your household to attend college. What role did your parents play in your decision to pursue higher education?

A: Yes, in my family there are my parents, and I have three sisters and one brother, and I am the first to attend college. My dad basically told me I really needed to attend college in order to better myself. He told me “I know you like to live well, so you need college in order to have a good career.” Both parents are very supportive, and understand the value of education. I have friends and relatives who regret not attending college. They know that college could lead to better jobs.

Q: What message do you have for young people who seem not to value education? What sort of future can you foresee for them?

A: It’s different now than it once was. You really cannot get by anymore with just a high school degree. It’s becoming harder all the time to get a good job. You need some sort of higher education, at least an associate degree. Without that, you are likely to get stuck in a job that you really do not like, living paycheck to paycheck.

Q: You are participating in Phi Theta Kappa honor society at San Jacinto College. How is that enhancing your college experience?

A: In PTK we are involved in community service projects and other positive activities. During this past Spring semester I was elected president of the club, and that has been a positive experience for me. I have been involved in school clubs before, but not as a president. It is a prestigious position, so I had to step up. It sort of pushes you, it challenges you to be better and to do better.


Vanessa Gonzalez lives in southeast Houston and graduated from Cesar Chavez High School in Houston ISD in 2011. She was recently hired as a full-time civil engineering intern by Ventech Engineers International in Pasadena.


A related video clip is available at: Spotlight

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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