Degree: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
College/School: College of Engineering & Computing
Thirteen years ago, Melody Gonzalez arrived in the U.S. from Venezuela. Within one year, she was married and pregnant with her first son.
Several years after the birth of her second son, she divorced. Once her kids were in school, she took English classes and met her mentor Anabert Lopez, who pushed her to enroll at Miami Dade College. At MDC, Melody met another mentor, Ana Maria Guadayol, who encouraged her to take the SAT and transfer to FIU.
While Melody had studied petroleum engineering in Venezuela, in the U.S. she felt out of her league. In 2015, however, she began pursuing her bachelor’s in civil engineering at FIU, where she found her biggest supporter, advisor JoAnna Sanabria.
A single mother, Melody worked two jobs and paid for school with more than 10 scholarships, including national awards from the Society of Women Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers and a Google STEM Scholarship. She is a NACME and NSF scholar, and managed the Engineers on Wheels program for the Wall of Wind.
Melody also completed a paid internship at Black & Veatch, a global engineering firm that provides services for energy, water and telecommunications. The lack of a good drinking water infrastructure in Melody’s hometown of Rio Caribe inspired her to work in that sector. The internship turned into a full-time job with the company in Coral Gables.
Melody says her biggest accomplishment is graduating without debt and setting the bar high for her two sons.
By Millie Acebal
Director of Marketing & Communications, College of Engineering & Computing