The Department of Construction Management shines the spotlight on Melissa Browne, who grew up in San Diego, California, surfing and keeping up with three brothers. She is the first of her siblings to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Browne came to Colorado State University for the Construction Management Program. Hearing it was top in the nation, after visiting the campus and touring the department, she knew it was meant to be. HGTV actually influenced her career choice. Researching professionals highlighted on the cable network, Browne learned that many of them had degrees in construction management.
“I was hooked,” Browne said after taking her first CM class, “And haven’t regretted my decision.”
Browne had a few different internships and work experiences over the course of her college education. She spent two summers working for R & R Construction, a general contractor in San Diego. This was her first experience with construction, and she spent much of her time being mentored by superiors and learning the basics.
Her formal internship for the CM degree was with CFC Construction in Golden, Colorado. She feels fortunate to have interned with the company, and was given the opportunity to work in the estimating and preconstruction department, as well as in the field on the management and operations side.
“My time with CFC could not have been better,” Browne said. “And I learned more than I could have imagined in just seven short months. I feel absolutely prepared to jump into the industry after the combined experiences I have received throughout college.”
Preparation for the real world is what Browne attributes to the CM program. The courses, clubs, and work experiences she participated in, all contributed to feeling prepared for work in the construction industry. Many of the classes are accompanied by a lab, which allows hands-on education where students can put into practice the lessons being taught. Participating in clubs gives students the chance to make connections with industry members, and get comfortable speaking with different people possessing a variety of skillsets.
Serving as the vice president of the United States Green Building Council student chapter for a year during her tenure at CSU, Browne defined it as a great opportunity to make friends, not only in CM, but also with industry members around the community. She also participated in the Women Engaging in Construction Mentoring program, as a peer mentor for a female CM classmate, who was an underclassman in the program. “This was a great source of female empowerment, and gave me a great sense of pride in the industry we are jumping into,” she said.
Browne considers the highlights of her time in CM being the friends she has made from her classes. Since many of the classes are project and team based, she spent many late hours in labs laughing…and doing work!
“Although the courses were difficult, and we often complained while we worked, those were still some of the most fun times I have had at school – hanging with my friends,” said Browne.
Following graduation, Browne plans to take a project engineer position to begin furthering her industry knowledge in the field. But one day, she hopes to start her own construction company that specializes in sustainable building, and building solutions.
With regards to advice for current or new students in the program, Browne had no hesitation.
“At some points the construction major might feel overwhelming and complicated; but stick it out and make some friends. The industry is all about teamwork and working together, so always ask questions and everyone will help you succeed,” she said.