Civil and Environmental Engineering Profiles

Meet the Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate alumni. Read below to learn about their education experience and service as a Trinity Fellow at Marquette University. 

Taylor Valencia

Graduate Program: Civil Engineering (Environmental Engineering)
Full-time Service Organization(s), Years Served, Location(s): Peace Corps, 2015 – 2017, Trang, Thailand
Undergraduate Degree, Undergraduate Institution: Civil Engineering, Howard University
Trinity Agency Placement: Urban Ecology Center

More about Taylor

Service Experience
Service is a core driver for my personal and professional goals. I always seek opportunities that will either build my capacity to serve marginalized populations or that will allow me to directly help vulnerable populations. The work of the United States Peace Corps directly aligned with my passions which is what inspired me to serve as a PCV. As a Youth Development Peace Corps Volunteer I lived in Trang, Thailand teaching youth life skills and English. Living with a host family the entire 2.5 years, I learned the Thai language and was fully integrated into my community.

I applied to five graduate school programs and the Trinity Fellows Program is the only one that explicitly mentioned social justice and equity. The program’s commitment to economic and social justice made it a perfect fit for me and the financial package was the cherry on top! I was attracted to apply after learning about the program from the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship information page on the Peace Corps website.

Trinity Fellowship Experience
Through the Trinity Fellows Program I received a phenomenal education as well as lifelong friendships. I’ve grown in my ability to view a situation with many perspectives, handle uncomfortable situations, to not be afraid to use my voice, and to keep self-care at the heart of my work.

Working in Milwaukee showed me that living in walking/biking distance to my workplace is possible! From my experience here I’ve realized living close to where I work is important to me and it’s something I aim to maintain moving forward. I enjoyed studying at the many café’s in Milwaukee (Full of Beans Café, Collectivo, etc.) as well as at the Sherman Phoenix and the East Library.

What have been some highlights or accomplishments during the fellowship?
The relationships I’ve formed with Trinity Fellows and my appreciation for the city of Milwaukee is the biggest highlight in my eyes.

What does it mean to you to be a part of the Trinity Fellows community?
Being a part of the Trinity Fellows community means I am not alone in the fight for a more just and humane society.

Plans After Graduation
I am currently trying to secure a job in Geneva, Switzerland. If that falls through, I’ll be somewhere on the East Coast! I’m seeking an environmental engineering career where I can use my skills to ensure marginalized populations have the quality environment they deserve.

I apply what I have learned as a Trinity Fellow on a daily basis. Whether it’s ensuring I’m treating people with dignity or acknowledging my own implicit bias in various situations, what I have learned as a Trinity Fellow will forever be with me. With every transition and life change that I will face in my life, I will use the skills I have gained through my experience as a Trinity Fellow.

Favorite Thing(s) About Milwaukee

The Sherman Phoenix, Oak Leaf Trail, Bradford Beach, Lake Michigan, Coffee Makes You Black, Daddy’s, Blue’s Egg, Brady Street (specifically Nomad’s Happy Hour), cheese curds, summer time, kayaking in the Milwaukee River, Glorioso’s Italian Grocery Store

Mike Majer

Trinity Fellow Class of 2015
Graduate Program: Civil Engineering
Undergraduate Degree, Institution: Physics, University of Wisconsin River falls
Full-time Service Experience, Years Served, Location: U.S. Peace Corps, 2006-2012
Trinity Nonprofit Agency: International Institute of Wisconsin

More about Mike

Trinity Fellowship Experience
My placement at International Institute of Wisconsin (IIW) was rewarding, challenging and provided an outlet for my unique talent set. One of IIW’s main roles is refugee resettlement. The US government has an interest in giving refugees a new home, and they use nonprofit contractures like us to teach English and US culture, and provide initial jobs, food, and housing. I structured a client database, taught new arrivals, and developed English language and cultural orientation videos.

Personally and professionally, I learned a lot about the mind-boggling complexity of the inefficient, bureaucratic, counterintuitive U.S. welfare system. I also learned to speak Burmese, direct and edit videos, and structure databases. On the whole, my work experience was quite interesting and enjoyable.

Plans after graduation
I plan to work with a structural engineering firm to gain experience. Eventually, I would like to try to tie my math and computer skills into a business plan that makes some significant contribution to humanity. Long term, I would like my livelihood to play a positive role in the future of the planet.

Current Position
Structural Designer, Pierce Engineers

Megan Bender

Graduate Program: MS, Environmental Engineering
Undergraduate Degree, Institution: Geological Engineering, Geology & Geophysics, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Trinity Nonprofit Agency: Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM), Environmental Project Engineer
Full-time Service Experience, Years Served, Location: Peace Corps, 2008-2010, Uganda

More about Megan

Service Experience

I spent two years as a secondary education volunteer in southwestern Uganda in East Africa. As a secondary education volunteer I worked and lived on a school compound and taught mathematics and physics to secondary students. Secondary students range from middle school to high school aged children. I also worked on various development issues for the village surrounding the school compound where I taught.

Trinity Fellowship Experience

My Trinity Fellowship was with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM). At RACM I was an Environmental Project Engineer and worked on various environmental projects in that capacity. I wrote multiple environmental assessments, grant research, grant writing, grant management, assessed environmental liability for the City for tax delinquent properties, assisted with redevelopment projects in the 30th Street Corridor and the Menomonee Valley, maintained communication between the City of Milwaukee and the nonprofit organizations working on river rehabilitation and other river projects, completed research on various federal regulations for redevelopment, construction issues, and environmental issues, and aided project engineers and project managers in any way required.

Plans after graduation

I will work for the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission in Waukesha, WI as a Storm water and Flood land Management Engineer.

Current Position

Project Manager, CH2M