Engineers Week: SAM PE, Christina Kim, on Engineering and Education

February 17, 2020

Christina Kim, PE is a Project Manager and Senior Utility Coordinator at SAM. More specifically, she works in our Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) department providing utility coordination to support energy and transportation projects across the nation. As we celebrate Engineers Week, we asked Christina to provide insight on Engineers’ contribution to society, and why it’s important to engage future talent in the AEC industry.

What about the engineering field excites you most?

The field of Civil Engineering has such a versatile range of specializations and projects. Civil Engineering specializations such as structural, environmental, geotechnical, water, wastewater and transportation engineering present challenging, constantly changing work environments and require creativity, adaptability, good problem-solving skills and ability to think on one’s feet. You need to have attention to detail while simultaneously understanding “the bigger picture”. In addition to the wide spectrum of challenges, the versatility of projects civil engineers can participate in ensures that you are unlikely to have a dull moment at work.

How does Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) impact/support projects?

SUE makes it possible to more accurately establish the location of underground utilities within a project area. This provides a foundation for decision making around the future of construction design, allowing a designer to make important decisions related to utility coordination, utility accommodation and utility relocation earlier in the design process.

What broader contributions do you feel Engineers make to society?

As a Civil Engineer, your work influences where people work, relax, learn and live. We will have a part of helping the society around us to become more advanced by adapting the infrastructure to meet challenges brought on by new technologies, and population growth.

Why do you feel it is important to engage students through the STEM program?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. A STEM education fosters qualities beneficial to every aspect of life for example it promotes creativity, critical thinking, skills application and teamwork. Through first-hand activities, the program provides both a fun, learning approach to math and science.

Describe your affiliation with ASCE STEM.

I am serving as the ASCE Texas Section STEM Committee Chair. ASCE Texas Section is one of the largest and most active sections of the American Society of Civil Engineers representing nearly 10,000 members and 15 branches throughout the state of Texas. As the STEM Committee Chair, I serve as a liaison between the ASCE Texas Section Board and other units of ASCE and non-ASCE organizations concerned with Civil Engineering education.

Describe the goals of the ASCE STEM program.

The goal of the ASCE STEM program is to promote the development of STEM and Civil Engineering education at the pre-college level within Texas. We coordinate such outreach opportunities with other ASCE branches and Committees.

What about ASCE STEM Committee excites you?

Civil Engineering is comprised of so many different and exciting specializations with each specialization providing their own unique contribution to society. Being part of the ASCE STEM Committee allows me to expose students to those various aspects of Civil Engineering earlier with the hopes of creating future Civil Engineering leaders.