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CMU civil engineering program graduates first cohort

Around 400 Colorado Mesa University graduates participated in the three in-person August commencement ceremonies. On the Maverick Field during the second celebration sat six students, the first of their kind. The students were the first in CMU's history to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.  

Due to COVID-19, in-person commencement was moved from May to August, but that didn't stop the six civil engineers from pushing on.   

Months before they walked across the stage in their cap and gown, they landed jobs and were already making moves in their field. They now get to help design and build the world we live in.

"Civil engineers help build infrastructures and systems that keep society running," said CMU/CU Boulder Civil Engineering Instructor Joel Sholtes, PhD. "From roads and bridges, to drinking water and waste water treatment. We make sure we are building in a way that is keeping our communities safe."

Recent graduate Emma Gardner, who was hired by Austin Civil Group in Grand Junction, said she chose the CMU civil engineering program because she wanted to be challenged in a rigorous program but she favored a small classroom setting.

"I wanted the benefits of staying in a smaller community and I was happy the program contained all the technical classes that I needed, and the professors made sure there were multiple opportunities for outside experience such as internships," said Gardner.

Colorado Mesa University has a longstanding partnership with the University of Colorado Boulder to mold the best and the brightest engineers in order to meet the demand for engineers globally, as well as in western Colorado. The program is an affordable option for students and is the only civil engineering program on the West Slope.

"Civil engineering is a difficult program but ultimately very fulfilling. It is rewarding to be working in a field that actively improves the lives of the community," said Gardner.

Sholtes said the first civil engineering cohort is made up of leaders. 

"As the first class to graduate, they had to take on a lot of leadership roles and form new organizations, like the civil engineering club," he said.

"It was awesome to be a part of this new program and I look forward to seeing how it grows from here," said Gardner.

These Mavericks now help build, design, maintain and manage the world we live in and that's something to celebrate, on graduation day and beyond.

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Written by Kelsey Coleman