Published: Dec. 11, 2023 By

Major: Civil engineering with a concentration in construction management 

Post Graduation Plans: Pursue a position in the construction engineering field in Phoenix, Arizona

Perseverance Award
This award recognizes undergraduate students who persevere despite adversity – above and beyond the inherent perseverance needed in any engineering major.

What is your favorite memory from your time at CU Boulder?
My favorite memory from my time at CU was participating in the Gold Hard Hat Ceremony. After spending much time working on my degree and completing my chosen concentration in construction management, it was extremely rewarding to participate in the ceremony.

What accomplishment are you most proud of, academically or personally?
I am personally proud of myself and my ability to return to CU after spending a year away to heal and reflect. It was extremely important to me that I took the time to find myself again and be with my family after the loss of my father and younger sister in 2020. Having taken that time, I came back to CU as a different person, ready to complete the degree I had started in 2017. At many moments I could have given up and never returned to complete my degree, but I knew that despite all that happened it is important to keep living my life to the fullest and achieve my goals.

Additionally, during my time away from CU, I started a small business with my older sister to promote kindness and mental health awareness to honor our younger sister. She was an extremely talented artist, and starting Empathy Art and Apparel has allowed us to keep her spirit alive creating stickers and apparel with her designs while donating a portion of the proceeds to the Second Wind Fund of Colorado. The Second Wind Fund provides teens and young adults with life-saving mental health resources, a cause near and dear to my family's hearts.

Reese Jillian Hopp in a sports jacket.Tell us about a moment (or moments) when you felt like you hit your stride or felt like you were “officially” an engineer.
A moment in which I had hit my stride was when I completed my senior capstone project for civil engineering. We were tasked to complete a full mock design, estimate and project proposal for the Denver Water Gross Dam expansion project actively in progress in Boulder. Having spent weeks putting together a project proposal in AutoCAD with a group of my classmates allowed me to feel like we were working on a real project. Once the project was completed, I felt extremely proud that I had gone from not knowing how to use the software to truly feeling that I had gained a new skill that I could use in my career.

What was the biggest challenge for you during your engineering education? What did you learn from it?
The biggest challenge I faced during my time as an engineering student was rebuilding after several difficult semesters at the beginning of my degree. Engineering has not been a walk in the park, and when I first started, I spent time on academic suspension from the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Although the suspension was extremely difficult, I took it as an opportunity to reset and worked hard to ultimately re-enter the engineering college and complete my degree.

What is your advice for incoming engineering students?
My biggest piece of advice for incoming engineering students is to trust in yourself and do not forget how important it is to prioritize your mental health. Although our education is extremely important, our health and well-being are essential. Engineering is not a simple path, but if you stay committed, you can truly reach your goals.