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Civil engineering student chosen to attend national Women in Construction Leadership Seminar

Feb 21, 2018
London Howell-Farley was selected to attend a national conference focusing on developing the leadership skills of collegiate women in construction fields

London Howell-Farley, a civil engineering student at Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech), was selected to attend a national conference focusing on developing the leadership skills of collegiate women in construction fields.

WCLS SeminarThe Women in Construction Leadership Seminar (WCLS) has been held once a year for the last nine years by Kiewit, one of the world’s largest contractors, at its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. This past January it was held at its training center in Denver, Colorado, for the first time.

A total of 113 collegiate women from the United States and Canada applied for the 2018 WCLS and 62 women were accepted. The application process consisted of several short answer and multiple-choice questions about experiences and interest in leadership and the construction/engineering industry, and a letter of recommendation from a professor. Attendees chosen were current college students who have strong leadership potential and a drive for success, with a passion for the construction and engineering fields.

London is the first Oregon Tech collegiate women to be accepted, with air travel and accommodations sponsored by Kiewit for the two-day event. A junior in Oregon Tech’s civil engineering program, London is from Portland, Oregon—having transferred from Mt. Hood Community College after a recommendation from an engineering adviser at the college.

“When I researched Oregon Tech, I saw that most engineering labs were hands-on, and that the university has small class sizes,” said London. “I also realized that a lot of the companies that I’m specifically interested in working at hire Oregon Tech graduates. Then I wanted to see the school for myself. I toured the campus in Klamath Falls and some of the town and fell in love, ultimately deciding that this is the place for me.”

The acceptance to join the WCLS came at an opportune time for London as she had been working with Kiewit on a yearlong mentorship program and had applied for several internships with the employee-owned Fortune 500 construction company. After networking at the seminar, London received an offer with the Kiewit Northwest District as a Field/Office Engineer Intern, which she will participate in over the summer.

Through the mentorship program, topics have included ‘Does being a follower take leadership? Absolutely! Learn how to make an impact as a team member;’ and ‘Getting the work done - How to build trust, delegate and maintain accountability.’

“So far I have learned a lot about the company and growing my professional leadership skills in listening to these confident, well-spoken and organized women,” said London. “I am excited to participate in what may be the most meaningful professional, and personal, development group I have ever been a part of at a great company like Kiewit.”

London2018During her time at Oregon Tech, London has become increasingly involved in campus life and clubs. Chief among her responsibilities at this time is serving as fundraising coordinator for the American Society of Civil Engineers 2018 Pacific Northwest Student Conference, which will be held on Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls campus this spring. The conference is projected to bring in nearly 500 participants and attendees from across the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. C.J. Riley, associate professor in the civil engineering department, submitted London’s letter of recommendation for the seminar: “London is serving as the fundraising coordinator for the ASCE Pacific Northwest Student Conference that we are hosting in April. Hosting a conference is a significant endeavor for any group, but London has taken a proactive approach to cutting through all the administrative processes at the university to set us up for success. She has already secured significant sponsorships and has been a valuable member of the conference coordination team.”

London also serves as business manager for The Edge, the university’s student newspaper, and is a student worker within the Marketing/Communications/Public Affairs department.

Upon returning from the seminar, London shared that the experience demonstrated to her the value of her Oregon Tech education, specifically the leadership skills she has acquired through courses and extracurricular participation.

“Oregon Tech has so many opportunities whether it’s a free, life-changing trip; helping you get that dream internship or job; or creating lifelong connections and/or memories,” said London. “The unique learning environment we have here with close student-faculty interaction and our focus on professional practice was apparent as I interacted with students from other programs. I’m so grateful for the foot up Oregon Tech and my professors have provided me with.”
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