My name is Gabriela Mayer and I study Civil Engineering at the University of Florida. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to the United States when I was 4 years old. Growing up with this mixed culture shaped me to become a person who loves to travel, learn about new cultures and try new activities. Growing up I thoroughly enjoyed playing outside. I was always playing some sort of sport and being active. Something about being outdoors and exerting my energy in a positive way made me feel more relaxed. I believe this sparked my interest with working outside rather than on a computer all day and an appreciation for teamwork that is so necessary with construction projects.
Although I did not know it at the time, it seems that my background and experiences in college made construction the perfect fit for me. Courses in civil engineering seemed to reflect the design side of the industry. They emphasized learning ways to analyze theoretical problems and figure out ideal answers for certain parameters. While I enjoyed learning how to problem solve and hypothetically implement solutions, I knew something was missing for me. Thinking about what will work is radically different from executing a full project and watching all the pieces come together. I thrive in fast-paced environments where new problems arise every day that must be tackled as a team with critical thinking.
However, for me, construction was not a clear field to follow. My father is an agricultural Engineer by study but an agronomist by practice and my mother is a Spanish teacher. No one in my family has ever been in the construction field. Before this internship I was not really sure what construction entailed. One of the main reasons I took a construction internship is because I wanted to try something that would be dynamic, require a lot of hard work, and have an effect on society.
My internship proved to be a perfect fit for me as it showed me how I could marry my enjoyment of the theoretical side of civil engineering with my need to have work that contributes to the world and requires innovative thinking. In my internship, my doubts about how classroom equations could lead to real-life solutions became answered. I saw how no project could ever get done without the collaboration of different entities. Workers in the field are a necessity, but if the materials aren’t delivered or plans aren’t finished in time the project will not continue. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be exposed to all of the different elements of a project the classroom does not touch on and feel I finally know how to apply my undergraduate education.
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