Eight telephone lines per 1000 inhabitants, dilapidated ports and bridges, limited access to water, and low employment: this is life in Haiti. This reality, combined with my interest in math and architecture, has led me to pursue a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. At the age of eleven, I decided I wanted to be an engineer, wandering in a field, pencil behind my ear, watching my work being completed. My goal to improve the infrastructure of Haiti originates after being stuck beneath a bridge. That moment seemed like the end of my world, but the experience led to me realizing my goals.
This experience occurred during a visit to my grandparents’ home in the Haitian countryside. Many of the bridges we passed over throughout our journey were in bad condition. Despite that, many cars and trucks went over those bridges daily. The one bridge that I will never forget though is the one that my family chose not to cross. Instead we decided to cross the river underneath the bridge which resulted in us being stuck. As I looked up at the bridge above us, I noticed its rotten and moldy sections and was frightened by the possibility of it falling on us. After five minutes we were able to get out of the river but that experience showed me the work that needed to be done to bridges in Haiti.
In the weeks after this incident, I realized that I wanted to make a change. But how could I, when I had neither a wealthy family nor well-connected acquaintances. The only career available for a woman at the time was of a secretary, a seamstress, or a nurse. The thought of becoming an engineer was just a fantasy. However, my fantasy became more attainable once I got to taste this land of opportunity. In the U.S, I saw opportunity everywhere, even while sitting on the subway. I see advertisements for such things as colleges, job opportunities and free health care. As the train moved towards it destination I saw that the only one that could stop me from reaching my goal was me.
Thirty or forty years from now, I want to look back and see my contribution to society, especially in third world countries. I want to share my knowledge with future generations in a remarkable way. I have already begun building my own bridges to connect me to what I want to do in life. Every choice that I have made and will make in the future will benefit me in becoming the creative engineer that I have always wanted to be. Whether it’s from working hard in school to get good grades or taking a summer math class to improve in the subject, traveling to