Jaime Ramos was unsure if civil engineering was the right fit for him when he entered the Lyles College of Engineering at Fresno State in 2018. During a study abroad trip to Armenia, he reflected on what he truly wanted to major in.
“My dad worked in construction for 22 years, and he took me to work with him ever since I was like a little kid, so I definitely got some exposure to that field early on and it always stayed in the back of my head,” said Ramos.
Ramos was recently selected as one of seven students from across the United States to receive a scholarship from the National Academy of Construction.
The scholarship provides up to $20,000 for undergraduate and/or graduate students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering or construction, or a closely related field, and who desire a career in the industry. The recipients will be recognized at a gala held in Arizona this month.
“I was pretty surprised to have won the scholarship,” Ramos said. “I’m also excited to represent Fresno State at the gala and to be able to network with industry members.”
Ramos learned about the scholarship through construction management professor Dr. Maria Calahorra-Jimenez. She encouraged Ramos and his classmates to attend and participate in the National Academy of Construction’s “Ask Me Anything” webinars, which feature academy members who discuss their careers and answer questions from students.
Calahorra-Jimenez then posted an announcement about the scholarship. Because of his familiarity with the academy and participation in the webinars, Ramos decided to apply.
Calahorra-Jimenez said these scholarship opportunities are important because they show that agencies and institutions believe in students’ potential and appreciate the efforts that they have made so far. She believes they not only support students financially but also help them build sound resumes that could lead them to better jobs and opportunities.
“I do not doubt that Jaime will have a successful career in the industry,” Calahorra-Jimenez said. “He has something that is key to growing and progressing in a professional career, and that is a continuous learner mindset.”
Ramos is set to graduate with his bachelor’s degree this fall. He is actively involved in the Bluebeam User Group student club and has completed three internships in addition to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, where he has helped construct and paint homes.
Ramos assisted with the quality control of homes and worked with trade partners for projects while interning with Wilson Homes. He then went on to intern with Roebbelen Contracting where he experienced being a project engineer and seeing what goes on before construction begins. During his most recent internship with Clark Construction Group, Ramos assisted with change orders for Clovis Community Medical Center’s four-year expansion project.
“Somehow the stars aligned for me and I was able to get exposure to the different phases of a construction project in different internships and actually use some of the software that we learned in classes in the field,” said Ramos.
This semester, Ramos is focusing his research on how Revit, a software tool that allows users to design a building in 3D, can be better utilized by field personnel to construct a building. He plans to go into multifamily housing construction after graduation.
“If you can get different types of construction under your belt while you’re a student, it really helps you figure out what you want to do,” Ramos said. “And I think I’m in a pretty good spot because I have a good idea of what I want to do thanks to the construction management program.”