My name is Melissa Ryan, and I have wanted to be involved in the construction industry since I was 6 years old. I was born and raised in an urban city in the state of Delaware, where the crime rate was worse than that of Detroit. The elementary school I attended was a small city school, where I was constantly building and tearing down structures using blocks, Legos, and anything else that would fit into my design. I realized that I wanted to build structures for the rest of my life by the time I finished Kindergarten. My father worked in the landscape business, but also did miscellaneous around-the-house work for his clients as well. Throughout high school I worked for my dad. I ran lawn-mowers, touched up porches, built shelving, and learned a lot about small-scale construction. The two of us ended up building the deck in our backyard that we have bar-b-ques on every summer. At this time in my life, I was volunteering a lot in my community. I mainly worked at soup kitchens, preparing and serving food for those less fortunate in my city. Every day, I was surrounded by people who have experienced homelessness, or were chronically homeless. I realized that I wanted to make a difference— I want to help cure the homeless epidemic. This is where my passion for construction came about. I realized that I could use my love for building to give people a warm place to sleep at night. I decided that once I graduate with a civil engineering degree, I will continue to work hard in the construction field until I am able to obtain my professional engineering license. Once I have my PE license, I will open a non-profit self-performing engineering and general contracting firm. My firm will design and build homeless shelters and soup kitchens. My firm will have one goal: to give homes to as many people as we can. I am a visual thinker — I love large scale projects, getting my hands dirty, and collaborating with all types of people. These are the reasons why I am passionate about my career in construction.
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