Ruth Kandolo picked UNC Charlotte because she wanted to attend a large university with many types of degree programs in engineering. She also found it to be affordable — and very welcoming. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ruth is currently a senior in CEE. She decided to pursue a BS in Civil Engineering because of the diversity of options after graduation.
"Civil engineering has been a dream since I was very young,” she says. Growing up in a community that was economically underdeveloped gave her the motivation to do something that would bring a change in her country.
"And civil engineering is a very big field,” she added. “You can work with so many companies.”
Ruth feels the Democratic Republic of Congo is rich in natural resources and has enough to provide for itself, but has one key missing piece: a developed transportation system. That's where she wants to apply her skills and experience as an engineer. Her goal is to help end hunger and poverty, and she feels it starts with having a healthy transportation system brought about by engineers.
"Transportation," she says, "is one of the biggest keys in a country's development."
Ruth is now taking the Airport Planning and Design class taught by Jack Christine, COO of the Charlotte Douglas International (CLT) Airport. The class exposes engineering students to aviation engineering principles and design trends, including master planning and forecasting. Until she took the class, she says she did not fully understand the importance of civil engineers to airport development and design.
The CLT airport accounts for 5% of the gross domestic product of the state of North Carolina. The sixth busiest airport in the country with 40-plus million passengers annually, it serves as the second-largest hub for American Airlines. CLT has partnered with the CEE Department for the past several years to develop aviation engineering continuing education options in addition to formal coursework.
After graduation, Ruth will stay at UNC Charlotte in the CEE department as an early entry MS student. She also plans to pursue an internship with Delta Airport Consultants, a Charlotte-based aviation consultancy.
A lifelong learner, Ruth Kandolo wants to learn more about designing airports and developing master plans. Way to go, Ruth — you'll go far!
See more of Ruth in this CEE Department video