Araceli Abanilla's path into the SE industry started with a BS in Civil Engineering from UC Irvine. Her first job after college was working at a civil and water resources company. She realized it was not for her and went back to grad school to get her Master's in Structural Engineering at UCSD. Her first job after grad school was working for a small company that did bridge design engineering. After that, she worked for firms that specialize in structural consulting, structural anti-terrorist force protection design, and transit and rail consulting. She currently works in the structures team at STV, Inc. and supports the transit and rail industry in their building and facilities department.
Araceli initially joined SEAOSC after a friend encouraged all the female engineers in her office to join SEAOSC's Women in Structural Engineering committee. It was through her activities in the WiSE committee that she became more active in SEAOSC in general. Araceli has continued since then to be a member of SEAOSC because she has gotten a lot out of being part of this community, and she has learned a lot through the webinars, dinner events, and other activities.
What excites Araceli most about the future of the Structural Engineering industry are the advancements in technology and fascinating research happening now that the future SEs are working on in universities and other organizations including the tools that are being used now and are developing for future widespread uses such as A.I., structural health monitoring, or full-scale 3D printing - all are expected to help problem-solve and optimize designs and processes.
For future generations of Structural Engineers, Araceli sees the varied approach to the profession: "There are may different types of work and roles within the Structural Engineering industry. Follow your passion and get to know your professional peers. Being part of your engineering community not only helps you make informed career and work decisions, the engineering community benefits from having a wide variety of view points and experiences. Find mentors, whether its through an organized program, like the SEAOSC Mentorship Program, or an informal mentor who you can talk to for advice and guidance. These things can really help you tailor your career to be what you want it to be."
Araceli values the community of peers outside of her organization with various roles such as engineers, researchers, educators, etc. that come together through SEAOSC. There are so many things she has learned through the SEAOSC community that have helped her within her own organization.
Araceli's appointment to the SEAOSC board brings with it a wealth of valuable insights, ideas, and direction, which will be instrumental in guiding our organization towards a successful future. We are thrilled to have Araceli join the SEAOSC board for the 2023-25 term!