Paige Vasquez-Housley: "Mines students leave the university prepared for the workforce."
Why did you choose to come to Mines? What have you enjoyed most about being here?
Anybody who knows Mines says: "Colorado School of Mines? That's where all the smart kids go."
I, of course, wanted to be a smart kid. So I applied, got in the second time around and became a transfer student.
What I enjoyed most about Mines were the professors. I can tell that they love what they do and that they care about the students. That made me excited to go to class every day.
Tell us about something you're working on right now that you find exciting, fulfilling or challenging?
Right now, I am a member of the senior design steel bridge competition team. Over the course of a year, we were charged with designing a 21-foot-long steel bridge for the AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition. Through the process, we learned to design a bridge from scratch, create construction drawings, use 3D load modeling software, weld and fabricate a bridge from steel and compete at a regional and national level by loading our 200-pound bridge with 2,500 pounds (about the weight of a car!). It has been an exciting and rewarding process and I appreciate the friends and connections I have made along the way. Nationals, here we come!
Have you done an internship or co-op or been in a professional job while at Mines? Tell us who you worked for and what you were doing. What stands out
I worked with a general contractor called Build Group Inc. in Southern California over the summer of 2021. I was a project engineering intern on a luxury mixed-use apartment/retail building in Beverly Hills. Besides seeing stars like Kendall Jenner walk by the site, my favorite part of the internship was being in the field every day doing inspections and communicating between the owners, architects, engineers and subcontractors. From the internship, I learned about the steps of the building process and the challenges that come with it. Above all, I learned to communicate effectively and create strong professional relationships. Thank you, Mines Career Center, for helping me receive this internship.
What are your plans for the future? What's your dream job?
My plans for the future are to start my career as a project engineer for Build Group Inc. in September. Before that, I plan on taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Passing the FE will get me one step closer to becoming a licensed professional engineer in California. I can't wait to see what the future brings!
What would you tell someone interested in joining your academic program or Mines in general?
I would tell someone interested in joining the Mines community that they will learn the tools of the industry. Mines students leave the university prepared for the workforce. Group projects, Capstone courses and field sessions are a few of the hands-on activities that make Mines students stand out.
Tell us something about you that most people would be surprised to learn?
Before I came to Mines, I thought I wanted to become a videographer. I've done several film festivals in Southern California and won the Ventura Vision Award in 2017 for a short environmental film. I found my passion in civil engineering and realized that creativity is not limited to an art major. The resources at Mines have given me the freedom to express my creativity through design courses and group projects.
What is a favorite memory from your time at Mines?
My favorite memory at Mines was during the civil engineering field session. My group was using a total station to digitally measure points that would map out a property. Like a typical Mines student, I was overthinking the process and decided to calculate the distances of all the points by hand. Little did we know, the purpose of the total station was to do all the plotting and calculations for us. After hours of trigonometry, we discovered that modern technology took less than a quarter of the time and none of the effort. When we eventually found out that our hand calculations were correct, we joked and said that we were just making sure the machine worked correctly.