Samantha Nicole Villalobos
In addition to the LSGS certificate, I’m graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering (structural focus) and a certificate in Architectural Engineering. Throughout my experience, I have connected these fields of study through analyzing the relationships between humans and the built environment: how and why buildings are designed and constructed, how architecture influences human behavior and vice versa, and the largely Latinx workforce who build these structures. Since last summer, I’ve been working with Skanska USA Building as a project engineering intern on two of Duke’s active construction sites: the new engineering building and the Hollows dorm. As one of the only Spanish-speaking members of my team, I’ve taken on the responsibility of providing interpretation assistance and support to our Spanish-speaking tradespeople.
After graduation, I’m continuing with Skanska in the preconstruction department, working with architects and tradespeople to optimize construction plans and methods for future projects. The LSGS certificate curriculum has helped me to further understand and engage in social and political issues surrounding Latinx communities, and the experience has helped me refine my skills in critical thinking, research, and communication. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to explore the field of Latinx studies and its implications in my future career.