My ASCE volunteer journey began with a simple invitation from a coworker to a Younger Member Group (YMG) meeting. From there, he forwarded my name to the YMG board and mentioned that I would be interested in volunteering. Now, over 10 years later I am grateful that he took that initiative on my behalf. My time with ASCE, from initially chairing a committee for YMG, to working my way up through the YMG, and now as an Illinois Section Board Member, has had an immeasurable impact on my career.
The relationships I have built and the friendships I have made through volunteering have strengthened my commitment, not only to ASCE, but also to my profession. I have found role models and peers that have encouraged me to be more active, pushed me out of my comfort zone, and asked me to expect more of myself. These are the benefits of volunteering I share most often with younger engineers. The networking aspect is invaluable to our profession, given that it exists in such a small world. My experience at ASCE has added to my comfort in attending events, knowing that I will likely see at least one familiar face, and that will lead to more familiar faces at the next event. The more connections you can make, the more of an asset and advocate you can be for yourself and for your company.
My time at ASCE has improved my confidence and expanded my civil engineering world. I encourage everyone to find their niche and the level of involvement that makes them comfortable and then go beyond it. Something as small as an invitation to a dinner meeting can lead to so much more.
Megan McDonald, P.E., LEED AP