Hello, my name is Karen Rico.
I was born in Guanajuato, Mexico; however, my home is Dallas, Texas where I have lived most of my life. I graduated from the Science and Engineering Magnet at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center. I am currently a senior Civil Engineering and Mathematics double major. Personally, I chose to attend the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University for its dedicated faculty, success of the students, and the many opportunities the school offers to become a well-rounded engineer.
The Lyle School of Engineering offers some of the best engineering programs in the country: the 4+1 program, co-ops and internships, all with the purpose of helping engineering students become competent candidates for the best engineering companies in the nation. Since I am a first-generation college student, I had to discover and learn everything from college applications to internships all at once. Fortunately, I did not have to do this alone. The faculty and advisors at Lyle helped me obtain an internship with the Texas Department of Transportation, participate in research projects, and network with some of the best civil engineering companies in the state.
One of my favorite opportunities I had the privilege to participate in was a research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by engineering professor, Dr. Usama El Shamy. The research project, “Multiscale Experimental and Computational Study of Erosion-Induced Failure of Levee Systems “, consisted of studying the effects of erosion on levee systems using a computational model with the Discrete Element Method (DEM). I started by learning how the simulation program worked, then began running simulations of different cases tracking particle erosion and levee failure. With the help of the other students working in the laboratory, I was able to gain geo-technical and simulation program knowledge concerning this research.
Apart from all that Lyle has to offer, I am currently the Vice President, Marshal, and Associate Editor of Chi Epsilon Civil and Environmental Honor Society. In addition, I am President of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Inc, a Christian and community service based sorority, where I have served as publicity chair, alumnae relations chair, and standards officer prior to presidency. I was also involved with Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, where I served as Secretary and President for three years. I was part of the Multicultural Greek Council serving as Vice President of Standards and becoming President my junior year. I am also involved with the Women in Science and Engineering club, which is dedicated to instilling elementary school girls with love for science and engineering by hosting monthly science Saturdays for local elementary schools. I was also a Mustang Corral Leader for the Office of New Student Orientation and Student Support during the summer of 2010 helping to welcome the new class of 2014.
Lyle is my home and the faculty has become my family. I know I can ask for help, and they will do all that they can to help me. I have worked for the Dean of the Engineering School Office as a student worker since I was a freshman and have seen firsthand how dedicated Dean Orsak, every department chair, and all of the Lyle School of Engineering staff is to bringing the best opportunities to our school for the benefit of the students.
The Lyle School of Engineering has big plans for the future, and is on the path to becoming the best school in the nation.