Outstanding Construction Management grad turns summer internship into full-time job after graduation

Remember that school project where you constructed popsicle stick bridges? And then there was a competition to see whose bridge held the most weight?

Building these popsicle bridges in the seventh grade was how Alex Romero knew construction was her passion. Although Romero graduates this December with a degree in construction management, she didn’t start there. Initially, she went into civil engineering with the intention of becoming a structural designer, but she switched majors her sophomore year.

“I struggled for my first year and a half trying to convince myself I was on the right path,” Romero recalled. “The construction management degree ended up giving me exactly what I was looking for in the first place.”

Faculty and staff in the Department of Construction Management helped Romero with the transition to CM and supported her along the way. “There have been so many people who have made a significant impact on my time here at Colorado State. Most notably Anna Fontana, Khristy Preston, Jeff Wilkes, Mike O’Reilly and our department head Mostafa Khattab,” she said. “I firmly believe that it’s the people in this program that make it so great.”

Bursting with Ram Pride

Romero was very involved during her time at CSU serving as treasurer for the CM Board of Directors, secretary/treasurer of Women in Construction, and president of the student chapter of the Colorado Contractors Association. She was also a member of Sigma Lambda Chi Construction Honor Society, a project lead for CM Cares, and a volunteer with CSUnity and Habitat for Humanity.

This past year, she built a life-sized model of CAM the Ram out of PVC pipe, chicken wire, cheesecloth and 27 cans of expanding polyurethane foam for CM’s annual CSU Homecoming float. “CAM is the legacy I chose to leave for the CM department, and he will hopefully help continue our winning streak for the next decade to come.”

Challenges of an out-of-state student

Although Romero is from Oregon, CSU was a natural fit. Her parents attended CSU in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and met in the bowling alley that used to be in the LSC basement before it was destroyed by the flood of 1997. Romero was thrilled to continue the CSU legacy in her family when she received a scholarship to attend.

Despite the scholarship she received, she struggled with the financial hardship of out-of-state tuition every semester. “I made it work by taking multiple jobs, paying tuition month-to-month with interest, and accepting help from family wherever I could. Unfortunately, I still had to take out loans, and I am coming to terms with that reality now as I plan for the future,” Romero said.

Plans for the future

Romero plans to spend an extended Christmas and New Year’s vacation with her family, and then take a road trip back to her hometown in Oregon. From there, she’s going to travel to New York City, a place she’s always wanted to visit, and Washington, D.C. Upon her return to Colorado, she will start work full-time on the U.S. 34 flood repair project with the company she interned with over the summer, Kiewit Corporation.

“I am going to miss walking around campus. The CM department is lucky to have our buildings right on the Oval, and so I got to see the best part of campus every day,” Romero said. “I’ll miss the people, the trees and the snowy days that turned CSU from green to white.”

The Department of Construction Management is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.