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Christopher Calderón ’10

 

christopher calderon2Christopher Calderón ’10 (Central High School) graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2014 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He graduated with honors and was admitted to the Tau Beta Pi Honor Society for placing within the top 15 percent of his engineering graduating class.

“I chose civil engineering out of curiosity,” he says. “For my senior project in high school I wanted to find out how to build a skyscraper, but due to a lack of skyscrapers in Rhode Island I narrowed my focus to managing a construction project.” To find a mentor for his project, Chris joined the ACE Mentor Program of Rhode Island and went on to meet Carlos Neves, who was working as a project engineer for Gilbane. “We met several times over the course of the school year,” says Chris. “He was a great mentor and a great resource.” That high school project eventually helped Chris land an internship with Gilbane, starting the day after he graduated from URI. He currently works for the company’s vice president and director of operational excellence and planning. “Gilbane is very interested in innovation and technology, which provides a recent graduate such as myself something to relate to in terms of transitioning to the workforce,” says Chris. “What I love about my job is that there is always a new project or idea to tackle and make happen.”

Chris was valedictorian of his high school graduating class, and he continued to pursue leadership opportunities at URI. He served as president of URI’s student chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. “Through my opportunity to serve as president, I was able to guide other students who were seeking to gain internship opportunities and overall experience,” he says. “I was also able to serve the community by leading afterschool activities for elementary school students in Central Falls and being a tutor in the Providence schools.”

Chris says his biggest leadership and growth challenge at URI was taking on the Project Manager role for his Senior Design Project. “I was in charge of managing a fictitious engineering firm that consisted of myself alongside nine of my fellow peers,” he says. “I was able to venture out and make management mistakes, and gain from the experience. The words of my past Crusade advisor Benjamin Ramos often came to mind: If you are comfortable, you are not growing. Sitting in the hot seat made me quite uncomfortable over the course of two semesters, but it forced me to think in a different manner and to therefore grow. Forcing yourself to take responsibility and manage a course of action allows you to learn a lot more about yourself and your abilities. The answer isn’t found in any course book but is fundamental to the college experience.”

Chris enjoyed his time as a Crusader and has had opportunities to encourage other students and families to participate. “Many experiences defined my love of being a Crusader,” he says. “It was the excitement of participating in the activities the Crusade has to offer, the great staff the Crusade has for student support, and the useful learning opportunities that students are provided.” The College Crusade scholarship helped, too. “Receiving a scholarship was a great benefit,” Chris adds. “My twin brother and I both received it, and it was a great help as we financed our own way through college and maintained a household simultaneously.”

In his free time, Chris likes to spend time with family, run, kayak, and dance – especially when it’s live salsa.

His advice to high school Crusaders is: “Take a leap. Venture into the unknown and define yourself as someone who is willing and eager to take on a challenge. Invest your college years in what you believe will benefit you in the long run. Discover who you are as a person and find your strengths in order to brand your work. Find a focus, define your true goal and how to achieve it, and never forget to find tools that will work for you.”