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Emily Graham, '19


Civil Engineering and Spanish

Woman Without Borders

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 has interned since her freshman year, told her about a project, which Graham pursued through Seattle U's International Development Internship Program (IDIP).

A lot of these experiences have been highly linked to Seattle U," she says. "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 extended her undergraduate timeline by a quarter to take advantage of two 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.