Home » Undergraduate Education » RISE: Resources to Inspire Successful Engineers » RISE Annual Newsletter 2023 » Meet Our Students: A Q&A with RISE Participant Travis Johnson

RISE Annual Newsletter 2023

Meet Our Students:

A Q&A with RISE Participant Travis Johnson

Travis Johnson

Travis Johnson

Junior, Civil Engineering

Q: How would you describe your college experience thus far?

Johnson: “My college experience has been great so far honestly. I’ve made a lot of great friends over the past 3 years here. I love my major, I love my classes and everything. I’ve completed a lot of insightful activities and received a ton of incredible opportunities. I’m starting to get a say in areas of the real professional engineering world too at the same time, so I’ve had a great experience.

Q: On the topic of the college experience, what extracurricular activities have you participated in?

Johnson: I’ve been involved in a handful of extracurricular activities during my time here at the University of Delaware. One of my favorites I have to say is intramural softball and maybe football. I love both of those. I am also a project manager for Engineers Without Borders. That has been a really fun experience for the past two years now. We’re now planning to travel to Bolivia this summer to build a bridge. I’m also a member of the American Society of Highway Engineers and that was really kind of shut down during the pandemic so it’s exciting to watch the rebirth of that club.

Q: Why did you choose to pursue an academic/professional career in engineering?

Johnson: Ever since I was young I have had a love for the transportation field of civil engineering. As a child, I would always point out what bridge or other civil engineering landmark my family would drive on when going on vacations. I spent much of my time on the beach playing in the sand digging holes, and pretending to make roads instead of spending that time in the water. Many of my friends still jokingly give me a tough time for watching science channels instead of Disney as I was growing up.

In addition to having a strong interest in engineering from a young age, my love for serving others began to develop from a young age as well, as I traveled to Costa Rica to help run a daycare in an underserved community in the 8th grade. When I realized that I enjoyed helping others, I continued engaging in service activities all throughout high school, serving in food pantries in my hometown of Baltimore, and traveling to Camden, New Jersey, Montana, and Belize to help teach younger students in schools. It was during my time in high school that I realized I can put my love for engineering and service together to achieve something special. Now, as a rising senior in college and member of UD Engineers Without Borders I am getting the opportunity to do so as I prepare to travel to Bolivia to help design and construct a pedestrian bridge in a rural community that lacks reliable access to services due to a river that frequently floods.

This ability to apply my engineering knowledge to positively impact the lives of an entire community on a daily basis is why I am pursuing a career in engineering. Creating a positive impact isn’t just limited to activities such as Engineers Without Borders. I currently intern as a traffic engineer, where our goal is to improve the safety and functionality of roads and pedestrian facilities. Every accident that a project prevents, or every second of delay that we can save is also something that I would consider a positive impact. The opportunity to approach each workday with that goal in mind is ultimately why I desire to pursue a career in engineering.

Q: What are your aspirations after graduation?

Johnson: After graduation, I want to pursue my professional engineering license. I would like to stay with the company, Whitman, Requardt, and Associates, where I’m interning right now. I definitely like the working environment there and I enjoy the projects that we do. So, I can definitely say that once I receive my PE license, a full-time position working as a traffic engineer is my next goal.

Q: Could you describe your experience with RISE?

Johnson: My experience with the RISE program has been nothing short of amazing during my time at UD. The program has helped motivate me academically over the past three years and it has been a tremendous support to me during some of the more stressful times such as during midterms and finals. I also met my best friend in the RISE program during my freshman year which was especially valuable to me, as I began college online, during the height of the pandemic in fall 2020. Having the chance to be a part of a community and meeting new people during that time was valuable for all of us and it helped make the return to campus in the spring much easier. In the end, I see RISE as a big family. Many of us share the same experience of being underrepresented in the engineering field. The connection to a community where we are supported, share experiences, have access to resources, and are connected with professionals will ultimately help make us incredible engineers on our journey.

Q: How have you made connections during your time here at UD and how have you benefited from them?

Johnson: I made a lot of connections during my time here at UD. While looking for people in my classes I made a lot of good friends that have helped me in my college career up until this point and I also think that it’s awesome to have like minded people I can study and do homework with. I’m connecting with a few professors that also run extracurricular activities and broaden my connections to the professional world.

–Edrian Vargas