Yesterday marked the start of National Engineers Week, a time to recognize the essential roles engineers play in modern society. In cooperation with the Houston Engineers Week Committee, engineering professional organizations and societies in and around the Houston area use this time to recognize their outstanding young members with a Young Engineer of the Year Award. This year, four alums of the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering received the honor.
Morena Arredondo, Associate and Project Engineer, Klotz Associates
The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Houston Chapter named Arredondo it’s 2014 Young Engineer of the year.
Arredondo earned her B.S. in civil engineering from the Cullen College in 2007 and has worked with Klotz Associates since her graduation. During her nearly seven years with the firm, she’s worked on land and site development projects, large transportation projects and now public utility projects that include evaluation and repair for the City of Houston infrastructure. She has recently been named an associate of the firm, putting her on track to be a shareholder. “I’m one of the youngest Hispanic female employees to hold that title,” she said. “I’m very proud to have achieved that position.”
On top of her work, Arredondo is active in STEM outreach efforts. She typically spends two days a month at Houston area schools with student populations that are underrepresented in science and engineering. Her efforts at these schools range from giving talks on the importance of going to college to judging science fairs to answering questions about engineering. “It’s a way to give back to the community,” she said.
Clayton Black, Land Development Division Manager and Partner, Jones & Carter
Black was named Young Engineer of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies.
Black earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Cullen College in 2005. At Jones & Carter, he serves a partner, member of the board of directors and manager of the land development division, which focuses on mixed-use and multi-family developments.
He currently serves as chairman of ACEC’s Houston Design Standards/Plan Review Committee. In this role he leads monthly meetings with the City of Houston planning, public works, engineering, and permit staff members as well as staff members from Harris County Engineering and Permits and Harris County Flood Control District. The goal of the ACEC-Houston DS/PR Committee is to develop standards for plan review, revisions and design criteria for the City of Houston, Harris County and the Harris County Flood Control District.
Katherine Leskin, Process Engineer, Fluor
Leskin was named Young Engineer of the Year by the South Texas Local Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
A Houston native, Leskin earned her B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005 and worked in Washington D.C. following graduation. In 2007 she returned to the Houston area to take a job with Fluor in Sugar Land, Texas. In that position she designs sections of chemical plants and refineries. These efforts include running simulations, documenting the basis of design, specifying equipment and diagraming where materials move within the unit. In 2010, she earned her master’s degree in civil engineering from the Cullen College with a focus on project and construction management.
Leskin’s volunteer work includes a two-year stint as AiChE section treasurer, and she currently serves as a volunteer musician with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra. She also served on Fluor’s 2013 employee giving campaign steering committee and, as an educational counselor for MIT, interviews area high school seniors applying for admission to the university.
Megan Siercks, Senior Associate, Walter P. Moore
Siercks was named 2014 Young Engineer of the Year by the Texas Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Greater Houston Chapter.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, Siercks earned her master’s in civil engineering from the Cullen College in 2011. At Walter P. Moore, she serves as a traffic engineer overseeing project studies. This includes analyzing the impact of new developments on existing road networks, designing intersections and developing mitigation plans that help minimize the impact of new roads and developments.
She’s also an active member of TxITE, where she helps plan yearly fundraisers that support student scholarships and discounted conference registration fees. In addition, she organizes social events for TxITE regional meetings held in Houston. Siercks is active in the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, through which she helps organize Houston Engineer’s Week activities; she was named TSPE’s Young Engineer of the year for 2013.