Next Gen Leaders


Profiles of the Industry’s New Generation

Julia Apostolou

Current Employer:  Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., White Plains, NY

Job Title: Transportation Planning and Traffic Operations (Summer Intern)

Age: 20

Achievement: Louis G. Nappi Scholarship Award, 2020

University and Degree: University of South Carolina, Civil Engineering, soon with a B.S. in Engineering (BSE).

Favorite Course or Subject: Math, specifically Calculus and Vector Calculus

On this professional choice: Being a problem solver and critical thinker, I found that civil engineering embodied all my strengths. Additionally, transportation and traffic engineering has always intrigued me. I wondered about how the lights worked and why they would change when they did. Learning about this now in the classroom is a very interesting idea to me.

Biggest challenges in your work: It is overwhelming to be so young and inexperienced in such a complicated job. The other members of the team in the office were so smart and accomplished, it made me doubt my abilities. I tried to remind myself that this was all a learning experience and that I could only grow as a worker through the experience I acquired.

Biggest surprises entering the field: It greatly surprised me how many of the technical ideas taught in the classroom are not used on the job. School focuses more on the equations, and practice problems. Work can be very vague. This is where critical thinking and problem solving come into play. I was also surprised at how much computer software is used in the field. In my college curriculum it is not emphasized.

Most memorable quote: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

Words of Wisdom for NextGen Students: Experience is one of the most valuable skills in engineering and for that matter, any career path. Take each day as it comes and learn slowly yet steadily. It will all come together with time.

On Setting New Goals: As an engineering student, schoolwork starts to take over if you let it. I set goals for myself revolving around other things like working out and my other passions. I set a new goal trying to run a half a mile more than I did the previous week. This is a great way for me to clear my mind, and feel very accomplished, especially when reaching my goals.

Favorite interests or hobbies: I enjoy cooking and baking. In my free time, you may find me in the kitchen. I am always trying to get creative with dishes and baked goods. I even started my own cookie business called “Cupid Cookies.”

Family relationship to CIC and Nappi Scholarship: Her father is a member of Teamster Local 456 of Elmsford, NY.

—Alan Kennedy, Researcher and Writer

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