Building A Career to Impact the Industry and Future Engineers
Widener's small class sizes and hands-on learning experiences helped two-time civil engineering graduate Kevin Brown '09 '14 turn an early interest in the field into a rewarding career.
- School of Engineering
Throughout the course of one’s academic career, there are moments that define and direct a student’s future and success.
Kevin Brown remembers that moment.
The West Philadelphia native points to joining the ACE Mentor Program in high school. Learning about architecture, construction, and engineering in the after-school program sparked an interest in engineering.
“I wasn’t thinking about going to college, let alone college for engineering,” said Kevin.
That interest would quickly evolve and put Kevin on a path to two civil engineering degrees from Widener that shaped his career and vision for the future of the industry.
A graduate of George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science and the ACE Mentor Program, Kevin had a strong interest in engineering and science. To succeed in an undergraduate program, however, Kevin sought out the right learning environment.
“For me, I knew going into an engineering program was going to be a huge challenge so the biggest thing was the small class sizes,” said Kevin.
Widener’s average 17-to-1 faculty-student ratio put Kevin on track to gain the personalized guidance and mentorship that he wanted from faculty.
“I feel like if I went to a bigger school I wouldn’t have been able to, or felt comfortable enough to, interact with the professors the way I did at Widener.”
The two-time Widener graduate credits the university’s robust co-op and internship program for helping him break into the industry and advance in his career.
Placements at PennDOT, followed by Urban Engineers, not only provided hands-on learning experiences, but connections for future employment.
“Those connections were huge,” Kevin explained.
After earning a bachelor of science in civil engineering in 2009, Kevin graduated into an economic recession with a challenging job market. The connections that Kevin made during his co-ops and internships proved to be invaluable and opened the door to his career at Urban Engineers.
“Those two connections helped me to get that job,” said Kevin. “We’re now 12 or 13 years later and I’m still here.”
Kevin returned to Widener for an advanced degree and graduated with a master of science in civil engineering in 2014. With more than a decade at Urban Engineers, Kevin acknowledges the role that Widener continues to play in his growth and success.
“That [degree] helped me move up within Urban Engineers and get into construction management and eventually getting my professional engineering license.”
Now as a construction manager in Urban Engineers’ Construction Services, Kevin continues to build his career and mentor the next generation of engineers. At each stage of his career, Kevin carries lessons learned at Widener, particularly his ability to speak to ways to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry.
Stepping onto a campus where the majority of the people looked different than him, Kevin explained, “helped me to interact with people that I never had the opportunity to in the past. If I didn’t have that experience at Widener, it would’ve probably been a different conversation and different tone than I’m able to speak in now.”