Recent alumni, Paul Lee, CEE ’15, has been recognized by ASCE as one of the new faces of civil engineering for 2019.

“In college, I really wanted to do sustainability. And it was around the time that climate change issues were starting to become a big deal, and people were feeling very empowered to do something about it,” Lee said. “I was exploring, ‘How can we as young engineers get involved, being sustainable and combating climate change?’”

Lee’s college explorations into making a difference have gone a long way. He’s now a civil engineering associate for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, specializing in renewable energy solutions. ASCE has honored him as a 2019 New Face of Civil Engineering.

“The likely culprit behind climate change is the burning of coal and fossil fuels,” Lee said. “The best way to reduce your carbon output is to increase your renewables. So, I saw renewable energy as the biggest opportunity to make an impact.

“As I’m maturing in my career, I’m viewing sustainability as risk mitigation. Even if it isn’t 100-percent that humans are the primary drivers, the risks are big enough that we have to do something about climate change. Similar to how we design for 100-year floods and for unlikely but devastating earthquakes, it’s the rational thing to do.”