HEADQUARTERS

Home
Home > Media > News Archive
Engineer Update Newsletter Banner


Posted 7/18/2013

Bookmark and Share Email Print

By Jennifer Aldridge
Europe District


WIESBADEN, Germany- With four right hands raised in the air, the 17th class of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District interns took the civilian service oath of office. The district welcomed Michael Gray-Lewis, Yillian Rivera, Donatello Barrett and Tiffany Williams -- this year's Advancing Minorities' Interest in Engineering students -- to Europe in early June.

AMIE is a nonprofit program designed to attract, educate, graduate and place minority students in engineering careers. The district's 2013 interns, rising seniors pursuing engineering degrees from historically black colleges and universities throughout the country, sat down with Engineering in Europe this month to discuss their field, the AMIE program in Germany and a bit about themselves.

 

***

Name: Michael Gray-Lewis

School: Jackson State University

Degree: Civil engineering

EiE: Why did you choose the field of engineering? What drew you to it?

Gray-Lewis: I grew up with a construction background my whole life. My father is a contractor and so, from an early age, I was interested in how things were put together. When it came time to make a decision on a career path, engineering seemed like the most logical option. Being able to transform nothing into something and have it stand the test of time is amazing. I feel like engineering is the only true path for me.

EiE: What is rewarding about engineering?

Gray-Lewis: Every engineer is part of a project that will serve the better of man. If I can be part of a project or a group, going out there every day, trying to make the world a better place, it will be rewarding.

EiE: How has the AMIE program helped prepare you for your career?

Gray-Lewis: It has given me an experience that I couldn't have received through any other program. It has given me the chance to come out here, see how work is done on the other side of the world, and give me an idea of what I need to do to prepare for graduation. This wouldn't be possible without the AMIE program.

EiE: What is your most memorable experience in Europe?

Gray-Lewis: Last weekend I went to Dusseldorf to meet family I never knew existed until I came out here and got an email from home. It was great meeting family that I wouldn't have met if I wasn't here in Europe.

EiE: What should prospective employers know about you?

Gray-Lewis: I'm adventurous. Like all engineers, I like a change in my environment; I like doing new things and seeing new projects. I am a hard worker, and whatever you throw at me, I will hit.

***

Name: Yillian Rivera

School: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Degree: Civil engineering

EiE: Why did you choose this field? What drew you to it?

Rivera: I had this girl's dream that I wanted to build a house. I wanted it to be perfect. So I thought engineering was the way to go. But guess what? It's not; it's architecture! I don't like architecture, so I enrolled in engineering anyway and started taking classes. I grew into it. I am good at it.

EiE: What is rewarding about engineering?

Rivera: Once you get to see the final project and see that you contributed to that project it is rewarding. That building or that facility is serving somebody, it's serving a purpose.

EiE: How has the AMIE program impacted you?

Rivera: This program was offered to us at historically black colleges and universities. I have gone to other schools and I had never heard of anything like the AMIE program before. It is unique. This gave me the experience to go work on the other side of the world.

EiE: What is your most memorable experience in Europe?

Rivera: I have learned a little bit about how the government does engineering. As for travel, it's awesome; I am doing a Euro tour!

EiE: What should prospective employers know about you?

Rivera: I chose engineering because I can solve problems. I love solving problems.

***

 

Name: Donatello Barrett

School: Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University

Degree: Civil engineering

EiE: Why did you choose this field? What drew you to it?

Barrett: I always had an ambition to build things and then destroy them. The first time I was introduced to engineering was in college. I was good at building things with my hands and on the computer. That got me interested in engineering.

EiE: What is rewarding about engineering?

Barrett: Knowing that you make a difference and that your work either helped improve or change lives is rewarding. I can see my work as it grows and progresses. Engineering can better the future and the people around me.

EiE: How has the AMIE program impacted you?

Barrett: The AMIE internship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Even when I signed up, I didn't think I would get selected. I think it is a wonderful program that should live on.

EiE: What is your most memorable experience in Europe?

Barrett: Going to Garmisch and seeing the mountains there. It was so surreal. It was like a movie. That is the kind of thing you see in a movie. We got out of the car four times in less than four minutes. We drove 100 feet and said, 'Pull over, we need another picture.'

EiE: What should prospective employers know about you?

Barrett: I like challenges.

***

Name: Tiffany Williams

School: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Degree: Architectural engineering

EiE: Why did you choose this field? What drew you to it?

Williams: Honestly, I can't see myself in any other profession; I was always good at math and science. I didn't like English or history, I always used the left side of my brain. I chose architectural engineering because of buildings. I like architecture, but don't confuse me with an architect -- I'm not an architect, I'm an engineer. I love the industry. I love being set apart from other people as an African-American woman in engineering.

EiE: What is rewarding about engineering?

Williams: I like the fact that you can do so many things with engineering, like consulting or project management -- it's so versatile. Plus the money, of course, that is pretty awesome!

EiE: How has the AMIE program helped prepare you for your career?

Williams: For me, the AMIE program provided both intern experience and the opportunity to travel overseas -- I had never been out of the country before. The program was also about building relationships. I am very grateful to Darren Walls, the AMIE program coordinator, and everyone at Europe District who reached out to me.

EiE: What is your most memorable experience in Europe?

Williams: I was able to grow relationships. What sticks out most are the people here at Europe District. I have never been treated with so much kindness; everyone reached out to us.

EiE: What should prospective employers know about you?

Williams: I am a very bold, confident, hardworking woman. Hire me and you will see.

advancing minorities' interest in engineering AMIE interns internship minorities STEM