My name is Katherine Vetter and I am currently enrolled in the Construction Management Program at the University of Washington. I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and I will always enjoy the panoramic views and vast greenery that the northwest offers. The summer weather is perfect for riding my motorcycle, hiking, and playing with my pitbulls at the park, while the winter is ideal for snowmobiling, snowboarding, and dairy-free hot chocolate!
Growing up, I spent much of my time on my father’s construction sites. Whether I was exhaustively rolling out of my bed in the job trailer to jackhammer vibrations at 6am, climbing around on scaffolding structures, or actually contributing to the completion of projects, it is needless to say that my continuous exposure to construction and oversight practices from my adolescence is what prompted my interest in the field. Witnessing my father design the plans for my family’s new house was the first facet of construction that captured my attention; my strong interest in art and mathematics really drew me into this process. I was also intrigued by the challenges that arose during my father’s projects, as I loved helping troubleshoot issues whose solutions were never black and white.
Apart from my father’s contribution, my grandmother’s role as the boss of the Pacific Science Center was another prevalent influence leading me to seek a career in construction management. Her first big project there was the Science Center’s butterfly exhibit. Not only was I inspired by her ability to come up with the idea, but I was also impressed by her capacity to deal with legal entities for permits and lead her employees effectively. Furthermore, her ability to coordinate every aspect of the project not only proved to me that I, too, could use my creative side in a management role, but also showed me how communicating with others and making project expectations transparent to everyone drives the overall success of a project.
I focused on math, business, and art through Bellevue College’s Running Start program in highschool, and realized that I could apply my strengths in these areas to a career in the construction industry. I worked on renovating homes with my father over the summer before my first year of college, which piqued my interest in the field; I knew that seeking a degree in Construction Management would be my perfect fit. The University of Washington’s Construction Management program enthused me because I wanted to be surrounded by students whose drive for success in the construction industry rival my own. Completing my first year in the program initiated my strong desire to work on larger projects than my fathers residential ones, so I sought out an internship to enhance my learning.
In the Spring of 2017, my classmates and I toured several heavy civil construction jobs working locally on Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail. One of the projects involved building a corridor for the lightrail in Bellevue, WA, which consists of two car/pedestrian bridges, towering textured walls, and beautifully planted landscapes. I was fascinated by all the projects we saw, but this one really stood out to me as something I wanted to be a part of. I spoke with the owner of the company working on the corridor, Johansen Excavating, and proudly landed an internship with them for the summer.
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