Julie Pike - BYU CEEN Alumni

BYU Alumni and Their Employers

Julie Pike, BYU CEEN alumni, graduated in December of 2011 from the Civil Engineering Department with her Master’s degree, after graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in April of 2010. She currently works for Volkert, Inc. These are her thoughts about her BYU experience and how it has prepared her for her employment with Volkert.

My BYU experience has helped me prepare for my current employment, especially my technical electives and senior classes. Most of your schooling gives you background and theory so you can understand the engineering principles but learning how to apply the principles is essential. The programs and information I learned in my technical electives, which focused more on real world applications, are definitely the most used today.  I especially enjoyed applying my engineering skills and helping others by participating in the study abroad programs in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.  Creating models, developing reports and giving presentations are skills that I developed at BYU and

still use today. I also liked that professors encouraged us to take our FE exam before graduation.  It is much easier to be done with the exam during school and is something great to add to your resume when looking for your first job.

My firm is mid-sized roadway design firm that has other offices in the south-east.  Our office, located in Virginia, has various departments including civil design, landscape architecture, bridge inspection, structural, and traffic. There is coordination between all the departments and I enjoy working with others, both within my department and out of it.  On occasion we also have the opportunity to work with other offices depending on their needs or ours.  I also enjoy that my company is small enough that I know most everyone, but at the same time large enough that we have a variety of department and projects.  I have also had the opportunity to help present proposals, attend meetings, and interact directly with other consulting firms and the local governments which helps establish connections.

My advice to students would be to find an internship. Although they can be difficult to find, I felt mine provided me with lots of experience in the areas my education didn't cover as well, like plan reading, AutoCAD skills and understanding the lingo like "As-builts".  Reading plans and using Microstation are things I do daily in my job, but didn't get much exposure to while at BYU.  It is also a good idea work in different disciplines to help narrow what type of work you prefer.  Specializing in one discipline is good but it is also very important to understand the basics of other disciplines.  In my experience, engineers have the option to change disciplines so don’t feel stuck in one area.  All experience is good since the disciplines of civil engineering work closely with each other.  School is also the perfect time to be exposed to as many computer programs as possible.  You have access to so many through educational licenses and I still use many programs I learned in school today.