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Engineering Design Firm

9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223


Friday, October 21, 2016

1201 013
Professor Lindsay
Lexey Carswell


Laurel Shakespeare
Whole Life Concept Project Part 2

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Mr. Lindsay, Lexey Carswell


Laurel Shakespeare


20, October 2016


Whole Life Concept Project Part 2

The goals I laid out for myself for 3, 5, and 10 years from now include working for Engineers
Without Borders and dealing with infrastructure in under-developed countries to help reach people with
disabilities in these areas. To accomplish these goals, there are certain skills I am going to need to have
mastered. Many of these skills can be mastered throughout my academic career as I take a variety of
courses. These would include courses that deal specifically with civil engineers and infrastructure, as well
as skills that I can gain through different out of class experiences.
The first I need the of these skills is knowledge of how to communicate my ideas with others.
This is an important skill to have mastered when working for Engineers Without Borders because I will
need to explain project plans to those in charge of my project as well as those living in the community
where the project is taking place (Solutions: Meeting Basic Human Needs 2016). This means that I will
need to be able to communicate on a variety of levels. A course that can help me gain this skill is
University Writing. Presently, I am taking UWRT 1103 and this course has taught me how to
communicate on a very formal level, while presenting research, as well as a more informal level, through
making easy-to-understand videos on public issues.
Because Engineers Without Borders works internationally and with a variety of different cultures,
knowledge of different cultures would be important for anyone working on their projects (Solutions:
Meeting Basic Human Needs 2016). Volunteering in different cultures requires one to understand and be
open minded to other people and customs. A course in the basics of Anthropology would be very
beneficial to refining this skill. Anthropology is the study of humans and their cultures. This course could
provide me with the basics of different cultures around the world as well as how to properly appreciate
and participate in them.
Also dealing with the fact that Engineers Without Borders is an international organization,
knowledge of various rock structures and landscapes would be important to building infrastructure around
the world. There are different rock and soil types around the world as well as a variety of geologic trends
that occur (Guimareas 2016). These things are important to take into consideration when building
different kinds of infrastructure in an area. Knowledge on where faults lie, where volcanoes are active, or
even what kind of soil is present in an area could all have an impact on how projects are designed in the
region. A course that would provide me with this knowledge is a basic geology class. All of the
previously mentioned geologic facts are covered in this course and would give me a good base of
knowledge to build on.
Basic marketing and sales skills would be important when facing the issue of convincing a
community that the project will be successful or convincing the board of Engineers Without Borders that
certain projects need to be taken up (Guimareas 2016). To get others to believe in your ideas and support
them is very important to the success, or even implementation, of your project. To gain this knowledge a
basic marketing class would be beneficial. In this course I could learn some techniques to use when
giving project pitches to different groups of people.

A knowledge of a variety of infrastructures would also be important when building infrastructure

in under-developed areas of the world. There is no one things that every community needs so a
knowledge on a wide variety of topics dealing with infrastructure would be important (Solutions: Meeting
Basic Human Needs 2016). Also, every project is going to be different and require different knowledge
on infrastructure. In some communities a basic bridge might be needed, while in another a road may need
to be built, and in yet another a way to manage their water resource may need to be developed. For this
knowledge a variety of courses can be taken including
It is important to take a variety of courses so that, when entering the workforce, all the skills you
need are with you. There is no job that only requires knowledge on one specific thing. Almost all jobs
will require communication of some sort and the ability to work with and attempt to understand others.
Also, the larger variety of skills I have mastered, or at least knowledge of, the more marketable I become
in the work force. Employers will look at the skills I have and want me to be a part of their team. In
reference to my personal goals specifically, this variety of courses will allow me to be more successful.
When working for an organization such as Engineers Without Borders, there is so much more necessary
to being successful than knowledge just of civil engineering and infrastructure. The organization prides
itself on how they incorporate the community they are serving in the projects they are carrying out. This
requires knowledge of how to deal with people that are different from you and how to communicate your
ideas to the entire community. Without knowing how to interact with new cultures, I would fail as I
traveled to complete international projects because the people in those cultures would probably dislike me.
They, therefore, would not want to participate in the project I had been tasked with completing. Also, if I
only ever communicated my idea in a very formal way, I would not be perceived very highly among the
people and would again face the issue of lack of community involvement.
There are still more skills necessary to work for an organization like Engineers Without Borders,
or really any engineering job. These include soft skills that cannot really be learned in a college classroom
setting. These include skills such as adaptability, the ability to work well with a variety of people,
documentation skills, open-mindedness, and, because I am a woman in a male dominated field, the ability
to gain the professional respect of men. Adaptability is important for a variety of reasons. First, each
project in Engineers Without Borders is unique (Guimareas 2016). With every new community comes a
different issue (Solutions: Meeting Basic Human Needs 2016). Secondly, issues can arise while in the
middle of a project and I need to be able to think of an alternative or a solution to the problem in a timely
manner. I could practice this skill by placing myself in new and different situations constantly. I need to
be able to work well with a variety of people as I will be interacting with the local populations of areas,
fellow engineers, and possibly people that provide funding for the projects of Engineers Without Borders
(Villlobos 2016). I need the ability to gain the respect and trust of each group. This skill can be developed
simply by exposing myself to a variety of people, whether through simple conversation or working with
them to accomplish a goal. Documentation skills are important so that recreating the project in the future
will be easier, both within that community and in other areas of the world (Villlobos 2016). I could
develop these skills by practicing basic note taking. Open-mindedness is important to ensure that the best
possible option for the completion of a project is being pursued (Guimareas 2016). I must be open to new
ideas and ways of thinking to be successful. I can practice this skill by putting myself in situations where
no everyone agrees with me. Lastly, the ability to gain professional respect of men is important for me so
that I am taken seriously in the field. If I am not taken seriously, none of my ideas will be taken into
consideration and I may not make the impact I would like to (Guimareas 2016). To gain this respect I
must prove myself as a valuable and reliable member of the engineering team and the team within the
community of the project.
I have neither given nor received any unauthorized help on this assignment, nor witnessed any violation of the UNC
Charlotte Code of Academic Integrity.

Guimareas, Maria, interview by Laurel Shakespeare. 2016. Interview with Maria Guimareas (10/18/2016).
2016. Solutions: Meeting Basic Human Needs.
Villlobos, Salvador, interview by Laurel Shakespeare. 2016. Interview of Salvador Villalobos