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Civil Engineering student finds success in persistence

A civil engineering student posing in front of a construction site

Ena Haltigan ’22 could have given up on her co-op plans when COVID-19 canceled work opportunities, but the New Jersey native had her heart set on Langan Engineering Inc. She liked how the firm’s leaders cared about sustainable practices and offered support for young, upcoming women in the industry.

“I had been in touch with Langan for more than a year,” says the York College of Pennsylvania Civil Engineering student. “I knew this was a place where I wanted to work. I had to be persistent.”

Haltigan applied for every open co-op opportunity the firm had available. Eventually, she landed an interview and was offered a position in their New Jersey office.

Now, just a couple of months into her co-op, she’s gotten experiences others wait years to gain. And even with fewer opportunities for in-person interaction, she’s made connections she believes will last a lifetime.

Getting her hands dirty

Haltigan became passionate about sustainability in high school. Growing up, she worked on various projects, such as restoring sand dunes after Hurricane Sandy and cleaning up the bay. “I value our natural resources,” she says. “I want to strengthen the relationship between humans and the natural environment.”

Langan Engineering leaned into that mission and helped Haltigan dive into work that was meaningful to her. On her fourth day of the co-op, she visited a project at Central Park in New York City, where she observed a subsurface soil investigation.

“It might sound silly, but I’ve never been able to touch the soil before,” she says. “You learn a lot about the soil and what to look for in the classroom, but it’s not until you get into the field that you really get to apply that knowledge and see things firsthand. That’s why co-ops are so important.”

Getting her OSHA 10 certification through a Construction Engineering class at York College also sped up the process for Haltigan to visit sites. “Having those clearances was really helpful,” she says.

‘I succeed because they care’

When she isn’t in the field, Haltigan is tapping into the resources that her co-op offers through its young professionals and women’s groups, which empower and support her as an up-and-coming Civil Engineer.

She also relies on the tips she’s learned from the faculty at York College. Her co-op coordinator Kelly Arcieri is often checking in on her experience. She also pulls on the professional development that Scott Hamilton, Chair of the Civil Engineering program, leaves with his students. He often uses extra time in class to talk about professionalism in emails or interview tips.

“There are faculty who stand out to me as having taken the extra time, for things that aren’t required of them, to make sure we succeed,” she says. “They’ve helped me be passionate about this work, but also present myself professionally. I succeed because they care.”