A sophomore year opportunity to study Spanish in Argentina set Emily Graham, '19, on her life's path.
Graham, a civil engineering and Spanish double major, says she returned from that fall quarter trip with a vision to pursue her civil engineering career abroad supporting people and projects where resources are scarce.
"The experience made me realize I don’t want to live in the U.S. bubble," Graham says. "I realized I wanted to work for people who needed better systems around them. When I came back I started searching for ways where I could do that professionally."
Graham made her ambitions known to her College of Science and Engineering professors, who connected her to international opportunities. Additionally, a co-worker at the engineering firm Coughlin Porter Lundeen, where Graham interned since her freshman year, told her about a project that she pursued through Seattle U's International Development Internship Program (IDIP).
A lot of these experiences have been highly linked to Seattle U," says Graham. "My professors learned a lot about me and wanted to help. They give you a lot of opportunities to go outside of the box if you want to."
Practicalities aside, Graham chose to extend her undergraduate timeline by a quarter just to take advantage of two Seattle U opportunities.
In August 2017 she joined a group of professionals, including Seattle U professors and students, under the banner of Kilowatts for Humanity in Zambia. As the project's engineering assistant, she helped design a set of solar panels for a kiosk and taught villagers how to maintain the system. She spent most of the summer stateside and 10 days in Zambia helping to install the panels and train the locals.