• May 13, 2022

    PacTrans Student Spotlight: Antonio Roman Campos

    Antonio Roman Campos is an undergraduate engineering researcher at Gonzaga University under Civil Engineering Department Head Dr. Rhonda Young.  He is currently working on three major transportation engineering projects, including the development and analysis of new Bicycle Rolling Stop (BRS) legislation in the Pacific Northwest, the characterization of wind behaviors and truck roll-over events in Wyoming, and the development of new Connected Vehicle (CV) technologies along rural Interstate corridors.  For these three projects, he partners with team members at Oregon State University, the University of Idaho, the University of Wyoming, and the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). 

    Here are a few words from a conversation we had with Antonio:

    1. How did PacTrans help prepare you for what you’re doing today? 

    The generous funding of PacTrans is the explicit reason why I have a job today.  During the coronavirus pandemic, many engineering offices transitioned to remote work, and it was difficult to find internships or entry-level job offerings at firms.  Therefore, I decided to pivot from pursuing an internship to pursuing a research position, and I received a great opportunity to work on multiple civil engineering projects funded by PacTrans and USDOT.  As a contracted researcher, I got to meet with top professionals and field experts across the country, I was able to complete high-level data analysis and design work, and I have written and published multiple research reports, journal articles, and agency recommendations.  My work with PacTrans has been way more diverse and impressive than any work I might have done as an entry-level intern, and my research has propelled me towards multiple graduate school opportunities and job offers. 

    2. What is your greatest professional accomplishment? 

    I always strive to be a well-rounded emulation of the classical renaissance man, and I am proud of the ways in which I have balanced my different skills and interests professionally.  In addition to being a civil engineering student and a researcher, I am also a professional editor, an author, an artist, a historian, a philosopher, an outdoorsman, and a world traveler, and I have worked to apply these various skills to my PacTrans research, bringing different opinions to my teams and working to fill in knowledge gaps.  This is especially important in a discipline like civil engineering, where many top professionals have to miss out on classes in the “softer sciences” in order to develop more advanced technical skills. I feel that my unique combination of talents has helped me to contribute to my work in novel ways, and my well-rounded project deliverables have helped me to gain accolades, scholarships, and respect. 

    3. What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field? 

    I would urge students and graduates to gain a diversity of abilities and be open to a diversity of employment possibilities.  Oftentimes, we trap ourselves in “bad faith,” thinking that we only have the skills for one particular position, and we only have an interest in a narrow field of work.  I never saw myself in transportation engineering, since I have always been more interested in water resources and land use; however, I have met some amazing people in the transportation sector, I have worked on impressive projects, and I have had a great time.  Likewise, I am pursuing degree programs in English literature, English writing, philosophy, Catholic studies, and honors at Gonzaga University, in addition to my civil engineering major.  Some people have questioned this decision, wondering why an engineer would need to know so much about writing, editing, religion, public speaking, or classical ethics. However, I have succeeded in putting each of these skills to work in my engineering positions, and I have impressed bosses and clients with my polished final deliverables. No skill is a bad one to have, and no job is a bad one to take; every experience helps to build your skills and deepen you as a person. 

    4. What hobbies/ interests do you have? Feel free to share a fun fact about you! 

    I am currently the president of Gonzaga University’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and I am the captain of our concrete canoe team. We will be competing with our canoe at the ASCE Pacific Northwest Student Conference at the University of British Columbia at the end of this month, and I have been hard at work trying to bring our team to victory after several years of not having a canoe.  I am also the vice president of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honors society; I am a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honors society; I am an avid outdoorsman and backcountry adventurer; I love to swing dance and ride horses, and I was the president of the Eagle Scout Class of 2017 in the Boy Scouts of America.  My life goals are to become a cattle rancher and an adventure novelist. 

    Stay up-to-date with Antonio’s career by connecting with him on LinkedIn.