Claire Tilton – Outstanding Graduate
Tilton received the Arizona Regents’ High Honors Endorsement Scholarship and a travel grant from the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative to present her research at a national conference of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) She is a member of Chi Epsilon, the national engineering honors fraternity. Her father, mother and brother are ASU alumni.
What led you to choose to study engineering and to decide on the specific major you chose?
I have always loved math and problem solving. I wanted to become an engineer so I could combine my analytical brain with my creative brain to come up with new ideas and processes. I chose civil engineering because the work you do is very tangible once it’s completed, and I knew I would be fulfilled with my work when I could physically see what I helped to design.
What has been most rewarding about your undergraduate years at ASU? What has been most challenging?
Everything that has been challenging in engineering has been equally rewarding. When I switched my major to engineering I was worried that I wouldn’t do well because of how hard everyone told me it was going to be. But I used resources like the tutoring centers, study groups with friends, teaching assistant office hours, and long nights of studying at the Noble library to make sure I understood my classes, and it had paid off.
Is there a professor who has been particularly instrumental in helping you grow as a student? How and in what way did they impact you?
My FURI mentor, Assistant Professor Mounir El Asmar, helped me to publish an academic paper, and to refine my writing and research skills, and gave me good advice.
Lecturer Chris Lawrence helped me push myself to work hard in engineering classes. We were given a lot of homework compared to my non-engineering classes, but it set a precedent for me to work hard.
Professor Keith Hjelmstad pushed me and all his students to do the best work and not think about the grade you earn in class but about real understanding. He supported me in getting funding to go to a national conference of the Society of Women Engineers where I got my job with CB&I (a major energy infrastructure engineering company).
What are your long-term career aspirations?
I would like to be in a position in which I am able to make big decisions that affect the economy, people and the environment. I would like to make decisions that positively affect people’s lives and conserve the environment. I will be happy in my career if I know I am making a positive contribution to the Earth, particularly by improving energy efficiency and decreasing waste.