Hola! Namaste! Hello!

Let me start off by saying I firmly believe I am where I am today because of family, friends, and experiences – all three have touched me in a unique way and much of what you will read here is from their influence. I graduated with my bachelors of science in civil engineering from California Polytechnic State University located in the quaint town of San Luis Obispo on California’s central coast. While there, I made my first trip outside the United States through the organization Engineers Without Borders-USA, an adventure that would eventually whirl me down the path I’m going today. At the onset of college I knew my interests were firmly grounded in the field of engineering, but I had little idea of where I would eventually apply these maturing skills. Upon arriving in the village of Sainji located in the northern state of Uttarkhand, India, at the end of my freshman year, that answer smacked me in the face. I was fortunate to get to know the people of Sainji over the course of four years and three trips back – friendships and bonds that altered the way I look at the world.

They taught me that engineering is so much more than just numbers and calculations – it is about people. The basis of everything we do as civil engineers is to improve the livelihoods of people. The projects we build have monumental consequences, both positive and negative. Infrastructure has the power to do more than just provide convenience; it can save lives, educate the next generation, and promote an equitable future.

I’ve taken a rather peculiar path over the last several years. I completed my PhD in civil engineering under the discipline of construction engineering and management at the University of Colorado Boulder. As a Research Assistant, I continued my interest to study engineering applications in developing communities. My doctoral research sought to improve the way we manage the reconstruction of infrastructure following large-scale disasters in emerging economies where I was blessed to work with an incredible group of peers (see Global Projects & Organizations for more information on the group’s work). I am currently serving as a Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program Officer with the U.S. Peace Corps Response where I am based in Carigara, Leyte in the Philippines.

In my free time I enjoy hitting Colorado’s slopes to snowboard, wandering into the wilderness to backpack, capturing life through the lens of camera, and experiencing new cultures and people through travel.

Aaron Opdyke