Tina Le, civil engineer, is one of the latest members of the Army Fellows Program to complete a 2-year fellowship with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). For the last two years, she has been working in the USACE Galveston District’s Port Arthur field office.
According to the U.S. Army, the “Logistics Career Field – Department of the Army (DA) Fellows Program is the premier talent acquisition and multi-functional training program for new Army Civilian Logisticians.”
Le was unaware of the Army Fellows Program as a college student until she attended a national conference sponsored by the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers.
“Before the conference I had no idea who USACE was and what USACE even did,” Le explained. “I was trying to familiarize myself with the USACE booth. I got invited to do an interview, which later evolved into a tentative letter of acceptance,” Le said.
Le graduated from Lamar University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and started the DA fellowship shortly after.
And from there, the rest was history.
“I began as a Pathway Intern and automatically got placed in the DA Fellows Program when I graduated university. Now, I’m happy to say that I’ll be graduated from the program June 12!”
Le chose to become a civil engineer in Port Arthur because of the wide array of opportunities the field had to offer.
“I can apply my degree in so many different fields,” Le said. “I find it even more enjoyable knowing that the work I do now can assist an individual’s everyday life, both outside and inside of USACE.”
When she was younger, all she wanted to do was build and create.
“I’m happy to have accomplished that dream,” Le said.
She found the fellowship offered many formative opportunities, including extra prospect courses and a variety of duty rotations.
“Not only were they educational, but they were also fun and took me out of my usual work setting,” Le said. “Through them I was able to meet people of other districts and departments.”
Le said the fellowship offered so much real-world experience, especially in construction, which she had not seen firsthand at that time. She was even awarded a district commander’s coin for her work.
“I received a coin from Colonel Vail for performing all the required quality assurance tests and managing the soils testing lab alone for the latter half of the Coastal Storm Risk Management Project in Jefferson County,” Le said, “I didn’t expect it and it really meant a lot.”
“The time I spent as a fellow helped further develop myself from what I was before, straight out of university, and I am thankful for it,” she said.
Le said she would recommend the fellowship experience to others.
“I would absolutely recommend the program to others, especially new graduates with minimal work experience and exposure,” Le said. “Through the program they’ll be allowed and encouraged to do rotations in other departments to learn and experience work they wouldn’t normally, had they just been a regular hire. It’s a great way to see all USACE has to offer and even connects you with other fellows going through the same path.”
Le completes the DA Fellowship program June 12, 2023. She’ll then take some vacation time before she returns to Port Arthur in August full-time work as a civil engineer.