February 27, 2023
Congratulations to the 2023 Bagley College of Engineering Student Hall of Fame class!
Over the next few days, we will be highlighting each SHoF recipient.
The new members participated in a Q&A reflecting on their time at Mississippi State.
What is your name, age, classification and major?
Maryi Lorena Chavarro Chaux, 35, Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a concentration in water resources
What year did you begin studying at MSU and when is your expected graduation date?
I began studying at MSU in 2020 and I am expected to graduate in May of 2023.
Why did you choose to attend MSU, and why did you choose an engineering field of study?
I became a graduate student at MSU after meeting Dr. John Ramirez-Avila at a conference in which he talked about sediment processes in streams and described some of the projects he was advancing with the Watersheds and Water Quality Research Lab, WWQRL. This quick overview made me feel attracted to MSU to complement my education in water resources engineering.
What are your favorite campus organizations you have become a part of?
I really enjoy being part of three campus organizations: The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Engineers Without Borders, and the Soil and Water Conservation Society. While playing a different role in the activities these organizations promoted, I built technical and leadership skills and met people from different backgrounds even outside the United States of America.
What has been your favorite course you have taken at MSU and why?
My favorite course was stream restoration. This course compiles concepts and applications from previous courses of the water resources concentration. I was really fascinated learning how these concepts were applied to understand a stream ecosystem and to propose projects for the restoration, preservation and functionality of streams, from the assessment of hydrological processes to their biological characteristics. All aspects advanced in the classroom and assignments and the hands-on experience offered with the field sessions and the performance of the final project were fundamental to help me advance my thesis. In addition, this course reinforced my interest in finding a career path in the restoration of streams and natural resources.
Which course has been your most challenging at MSU and why? What was something you learned about yourself after taking that course?
The most challenging course was groundwater resources evaluation. It was the first course I took in English. I was confused sometimes because of the technical language and the broad thinking you need to understand water movement underground. I used to be stressed with the assignments, but I was determined to do well. My self-confidence and understanding grew and I was finally able to complete them by myself on time and well done.
What is one thing you have learned, related to engineering, during your time in the Bagley College of Engineering?
I learned many aspects related to hydrological and hydraulic processes. However, one area I feel I learned more about is stream restoration. I feel it is an area that has a great future of development in my country, as we do not have that background with the broad spectrum that is taught at MSU.
How has MSU and specifically the Bagley College of Engineering prepared you for professional life after college?
The Watersheds and Water Quality Research Lab of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering opened the doors for me to become a graduate student and has contributed to my professional training by allowing me to work on different projects that are close to the professional life I really want to perform. All the lab and field work experience has formed, enhanced and strengthened my skills professionally as a water resource engineer and a stream restoration practitioner.
What are your plans after graduation?
I will start a Water Resources Position at Michael Baker International that involves work in stream restoration, which makes me feel that I am achieving a professional goal.
What will you miss most about MSU after you graduate?
I will miss the balance that I was able to build among friends, classes, field work, lab work and voluntary service with SHPE, SWCS and EWB. I will miss SHPE specially because of the activities we advanced in and outside campus such as “Se Habla Español”, “International Fiesta”, the kids participating in the “Teaching Water Program” or “Noche de Ciencias” and the entire community helping in the “Catalpa Creek Stream Cleanup”. I will also miss the opportunity to visit the community of Santa Teresita in Ecuador while advancing our project with EWB.