Elizabeth Ruedas is working to make her name in the civil engineering field. She already has an audience lined up.
Ruedas, EIT, ENV SP, A.M.ASCE, is a design engineer for CNC Engineering Inc. in the City of Industry, CA, a YouTube star – with 70,000 followers and more than 8 million views on her channel – and selected by ASCE as one of the 2016 class of New Faces of Civil Engineering Professionals.
“We provide design, surveying, construction management, and city services,” said Ruedas, who is just 23. “It’s been amazing. I think that’s one of the reasons I love civil engineering so much – it’s so broad. There’s something for everyone, I guess you can say.”
Ruedas is a first-generation college graduate. Her parents moved to Southern California from Mexico and opened their own bridal shop; Elizabeth’s mother made wedding, prom, quinceañera, first communion, and baptism dresses, while Elizabeth’s father rented out tuxedos.
It wasn’t engineering school, but it was experience that has proven helpful to Elizabeth’s career.
“I got exposure to negotiating and really just talking to people, a lot of social skills,” Elizabeth said. “My mom would take me to downtown L.A. with her all of the time. I think working with them and seeing what they were doing there – not letting language be a barrier – was a great experience.
“My mom had a ton of clients who spoke only English and she struggled a lot at first. She’s always been a very strong figure for me. Just to see how passionate they were, it’s given me that same hunger for life and I think it’s resulted in me being very ambitious, hard-working, and optimistic.”
Ruedas demonstrated advanced math skills at a very young age and developed a love for engineering while in high school at a National Hispanic Environmental Council summer program.
She is heavily involved with ASCE, serving as an ASCE State Advocacy Captain, chair of the Orange County Branch Social Committee, webmaster for the Orange County Branch, secretary for the Orange County Younger Member Forum, and member of the Orange Country Branch Government Relations Committee.
Ruedas also volunteers for Soroptimist, an organization that works to empower young women. She said she is especially interested in serving as a role model for her two younger siblings as well as girls from low-income families.
She recently wrote a poem to inspire girls to consider more technical fields.
And then there is her YouTube channel. “Beauty, Brains, Beast” boasts more than 70,000 followers.
“I want to show these girls and the rest of my followers what my daily life is like, so maybe they’ll be inspired and interested in pursuing higher education as well as possibly anything related to STEM,” Ruedas said. “It’s all about exposure and giving them options. Unless you can see it, you don’t believe it. Every time I see someone who looks like me in these leadership positions it just really motivates me to want to do the same. So I really want to do that for other girls, other minorities, just really anyone who’s interested in listening.”
ASCE’s New Faces of Civil Engineering recognition programs highlight the next generation of civil engineering leaders. By showcasing young, diverse, talented engineers the program shows that engineering is an exciting profession open to everyone. Ten honorees are selected by ASCE in each of two divisions: collegiate and professional.
The honorees will be recognized during Engineers Week, which starts Feb. 21, and at ASCE’s annual Outstanding Projects And Leaders (OPAL) Gala, March 17, in Arlington, VA.