Alumni Spotlight | From Cal Poly to Geotechnical Engineer at Langan

February 25, 2018

Katrina Watkins graduated from Cal Poly in 2013 with a B.S. in civil engineering and is now a senior staff engineer at Langan. Katrina attributes her successful career to her Cal Poly education, involvement on campus, and on-site construction experience.

While at Cal Poly, she was involved as a WOW (Week of Welcome) leader, officer for the Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers, member of the Civil Engineering Canoe Team, and officer for Chi Epsilon.

During her Senior year, Katrina served as a captain for the Civil Engineering Concrete Canoe Team and oversaw construction. The Team is a collaboration of Cal Poly students tasked with designing and building a floating concrete canoe. Katrina was one of seven captains on the project and helped lead the team to nationals in 2013 where they placed fourth in the competition. Being on the team taught Katrina how to successfully work in a team and to manage projects.

After graduating, Katrina went to work at Langan in San Francisco for three years as a staff engineer while training to become a Professional Engineer (PE). Langan is an engineering consulting firm specializing in geotechnical, environmental, and site/civil engineering with offices throughout the United States. As a staff engineer, she worked on construction sites observing foundation, temporary shoring, and ground improvement installation and testing.. She took a year away from Langan to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering at UC Berkeley and graduated in July 2017. Katrina is now a senior staff engineer and PE in the geotechnical group at Langan.

“Getting to work in civil engineering is so rewarding because you get to see the fruits of your labor on the skyline in the cities that you work in. I love problem-solving and getting to do this on a day-to-day basis is very satisfying and rewarding,” said Katrina.

Katrina has also been involved in “Women at Langan” which was initialized from the Women Builders Council as part of the “We for She” initiative which aims to bring awareness and advocate for women within corporate culture. Women at Langan hosts events, invites speakers, and provides mentorship opportunities for employees. Senior-level engineers are invited to share the steps they took and the lessons learned along their professional and personal journey to attain their current position giving entry-level engineers the opportunity to learn more about advancement in the company.

Katrina advises students to get hands-on internship experience, get involved on campus, network, and attend campus career fairs to be successful in securing a full-time job. She also recommends taking the FE exam while still in college and becoming an Engineer in Training (EIT). Langan is a sponsor of the CEENVE department and offers various internship and entry level positions for students. Openings can be viewed on the department’s Job & Scholarship listing page. To learn more about Langan, visit, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Twitter.

Written by Ilianna Salas