By Frank Whitman, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas Public Affairs Office
ASAN, Guam (NNS) -- Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officers spoke to freshman pre-engineering students at the University of Guam (UOG), Jan. 29, about their experiences in the engineering field and in the Navy.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas Naval Base Guam (NBG) Construction Manager Lt. Randy Olaes and NBG Production Officer Lt. Ramon Acosta told the students how they chose their respective engineering specialties and about the range of opportunities available to engineers in the Navy.
"The students were really interested in learning from the officers about the kind of engineering they do in the Navy and their background," said UOG Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Ujwalkumar Patil. "Both of the lieutenants shared their experience and from their reactions I could tell that the students were motivated."
Acosta's presentation "My Engineering Experience" focused on his career path from college to the present. "I wanted to tell them what an engineer does for a living, as well as what to expect in their engineering school," he said. "These are pre-engineering students, they're not there yet, but I wanted to give them a sense of what to expect once they get into their chosen field of engineering."
He told the students about his effort as a student to network and how he became president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "Typically engineers are kind of shy," he told the students. "You have to get over that. You need to get your name out there."
Acosta focused on electrical engineering and completed internships with General Electric and NASA - "the job of my dreams," he said - at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. He had met Navy recruiters while he was president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and decided to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Navy.
Acosta said engineering in the Navy is exciting because CEC personnel work on a range of projects around the world.
"My background is electrical, but very seldom do I find myself doing electrical work," he said. "It's more of using my general engineering knowledge and applying it to construction. It's not only the electrical portion. I need to know a little about mechanical, a little bit of civil, environmental, you name it. It's everything."
Olaes spoke about his specialties: architecture and lighting design.
He fascinated the students with details of large-scale lighting projects he has worked - the Apple campus, Sacramento International Airport, the Presidio Parkway in San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. He also talked about the advances in technology, particularly the increasing use of LED bulbs and their potential for innovative design.
"I wanted to give the students an opportunity to see our backgrounds, because everyone has a different path in life," Olaes said. "I wanted to share my experience in architecture and then being a lighting consultant and finally transitioning to the Navy. I wanted them to be able to see the possibilities with engineering and with architecture."
Olaes had suggested the presentation to Patil as part of an ongoing relationship between NAVFAC Marianas and UOG. "We can give back to the community with the CEC having a lot of engineers as well as architects to come in and provide a wealth of experience and knowledge whether for joining the Navy as an engineer or working in the private sector."
The NAVFAC Marianas CEC officers conduct regular outreach in partnership with UOG as a means to cultivate interest in the field of engineering among university students. Their recent presentations were a significant part of a career-development and mentoring program which NAVFAC Marianas is seeking to establish with UOG.