CEE Update Alumni Spotlights: Samantha Gonzalez


Samantha Gonzalez '
Samantha Gonzalez 

by Jeannette L. Little

When Samantha Gonzalez '15 began working for a construction management company and putting her civil engineering degree skillset to work, it was a dream come true.

Her idea of such a career began when she recognized a passion for building for the future. In her junior year, Gonzalez entered the Cornell-Cantabria Exchange Program where she went to Spain in 2014 and took classes alongside her Spanish counterparts at the Universidad de Cantabria and did an internship at APIA XXI. “Studying, and then interning in Spain was extremely valuable to my educational and personal development,” Gonzalez said.

“The Cornell-Cantabria Exchange program opened my eyes to different ways of life, different values, and the commonalities that cross cultures. Looking back, this was my first real push into young adulthood as my fellow Cornellians and I navigated a new country, new language, new university, and new way of life. By gaining new skills in and out of the classroom, we were able to set ourselves up for both academic and personal success.”

Now, five years later, Gonzalez is putting her knowledge to work as an Assistant Project Manager with Skanska USA Building, where she is involved in the marble and granite finishes at the Moynihan Train Hall Project at the James A. Farley Post Office in New York City, which is in Phase 2 of the multi-billion dollar overhaul and expansion of Penn Station.

“In the office, I manage submittals and review drawings, tracking cost and schedule impacts along the way, particularly due to COVID-19. On site, I track field progress, facilitate solutions to field issues, and even travel to various factories/quarries to observe the material before it is installed.”

Gonzalez says her education at Cornell helped her to realize her potential. She was challenged through the coursework to understand the engineering concepts that would be applied in construction. On a daily basis, Gonzalez utilizes the problem solving and communication skills that she was taught. “Cornell prepared me well for my career and I am very grateful for my CEE education and where I am today in my career.”

Moynihan Train Hall Project at the James A. Farley Post Office in New York City. Photo provided.
Moynihan Train Hall Project at the James A. Farley Post Office in New York City. Photo provided.

Editor’s Note: Before going to press, Samantha wrote to us with the following news: “Moynihan Train Hall was actually able to open on time and on budget on 12/31/2020, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Governor Cuomo and his team on 12/30/2020.”