Hazard Girls Spotlight! Melody Gonzalez is a full-time engineer at Black and Veatch. She originally immigrated to the United States from Rio Caribe, a small town in Venezuela. When she arrived, she knew no one and spoke little to no English. Melody missed the friends and family she left in Venezuela but was looking forward to the life she had always dreamt of having. She started out as a single mother raising two boys with a passion for engineering. She began taking classes at Miami Dade College, then transferring to Florida International University where she received her degree. While at Florida International University she was involved in the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, The American Society of Civil Engineers, The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, The Society of Women Engineers and the Water Environment Federation. In 2016, she received the national STEM scholarship from SHPE. Melody is also one of two recipients of John Lenard Civil Engineering Scholarship; this is a national ASCE Scholarship for Water Resources. While she was in school, she began her first internship at Haven and Sawyer and then at Black and Veatch where she landed her first job.
Juno Jones intern, Kalli Doherty had a chance to do a quick Q&A with Melody Gonzalez.
Are you still working at Black and Veatch? If so, what has your experience been like with the company?
Yes. It is a great company. I love the company culture of respect for each other, diversity and inclusion. This besides being one of the leaders in the industry for sustainable and innovative solutions.
Are the any projects that you’re working on with Black and Veatch that you’d like to share with us?
As a design my projects varies within civil design, including yard piping, route analysis, composing preliminary engineering reports, pipeline design of various sizes, permitting and construction management services. I have also worked as design engineer on several water and wastewater treatment plant projects. One of the things I like the most about civil engineering is that you never know what challenges might come your way in the next project, and that keep things interesting.
What advice would you give to your younger self, now that you are where you are?
“Relax! Everything will be ok.”
What has it been like being an immigrant and single mother living in the United States?
As a single mom and first-generation immigrant, I feel a lot of pressure to do everything right, to make the right decisions at the right time because my family depends on me. That comes with a lot of stress. So, I would definitely tell a younger me, to relax, and trust on my instincts and in my abilities to guide me through the day-to-day decisions.
What is one quote or piece of advice that you would like to give?
“I think the difference between success and failure is the ability to sees one’s fears and weaknesses and still push through to overcome them to achieve a higher goal.”
Thank you so much Melody, we look forward to seeing what lies ahead in your inspiring career!