Student Experience: Juan Lopez

JUAN LOPEZ is a junior. He transferred from Normandale Community College in Bloomington, which is near his high school and where he was awarded two years of full tuition. This year Lopez received a scholarship through ACEC.


Municipal Engineering

“involves knowing about many different areas”

“Of all the engineers I’ve talked to, not a single one has said they don’t like their job. They say every day is new and it is never boring. That is good to hear!”


Now in his second semester at UMN, Lopez has adjusted to his course load of 5 classes: Civil Engineering Materials, Engineering Ethics and Professional Practice, Fluid Mechanics, Soil Mechanics I, and Steel and Reinforced Concrete Design. Lopez is involved in ASCE and is the Communications Chair for the student chapter of APWA.


Before coming to the U, Lopez completed an Urban Scholars internship. He worked with Fleet Services in a municipal public works department. Another part of the program was learning professional skills, including significant practice with public speaking. “That changed my life. I realized it is a skill to become accustomed to speaking with people.”

Passion for People

“I like learning about other people, especially their ethnicity or backgrounds. I was born in California, but my parents are from Mexico. The US is a country of immigrants, so everyone can go back and tell you about their heritage.”

“I have learned to communicate with people and I want to get as much practice as I can. What is the point of having good ideas if you cannot communicate them to others?”


Summer 2020, Lopez will work with Westwood Professional Services, a multidisciplinary engineering firm. Westwood builds wind and solar farms, and Lopez will be working with field services doing preliminary soil testing.

“I will be outside about 90% of the time, which is great for me! I will come back in the fall with more experience under my belt and ready to complete my coursework.”