Good afternoon President Dooley, Governor Raimondo, and other distinguished guests. Before I get started, I would like to say that I am extremely honored to have this opportunity to speak to you today.
A little information about myself: my name is Kalvin Cho, and I am a sophomore Civil Engineering and Chinese double major from Bellingham, Massachusetts.
Whenever I talk with people at home or when I am give a campus tour here at URI, the most common question I get is, “Why did you choose URI, an out-of-state state school when you have all of the UMass branches to choose from?” The answer is simple, URI’s International Engineering Program.
During my junior year of high school, I started thinking about what major I wanted to pursue. At first, I was set on architecture. As a child, I would admire buildings through a car window as my parents drove through cities like Boston and New York City. Just as I was about to finalize my decision, a friend of mine, Nik asked me, “Have you ever considered Civil Engineering?” He explained to me, “Instead of designing the buildings, how would you feel if you were the reason why buildings can stand?”
This question helped me realize that I was more fascinated by the details behind the design than the exterior of the building. This realization, along with my love for mathematics, helped me solidify my decision to major in Civil Engineering.
It was obvious that I could pursue Civil Engineering at many different universities so what solidified my decision to attend URI? It was the International Engineering Program.
Growing up in a family with a Taiwanese background, I spoke Mandarin Chinese throughout my childhood. I watched cartoons in Chinese before I watched the traditional American cartoons. I was also lucky enough to have parents who brought me back to Taiwan to visit family many times throughout my childhood.
I grew up with an appreciation for this complex language, but never had the chance to learn how to read or write in Chinese. My high school only offered Spanish and French, so when I heard that URI offered a program in which I could get an engineering degree along with a Chinese degree, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my college career.
One of the amazing parts of the International Engineering Program is that it includes a year when I will study abroad in China at ZheJiang University. Not only will I get to study at one of the best universities in China, but I will also have the opportunity to intern with an engineering company in China. This internship is going to be a priceless experience because China is currently leading the world in development and improvement of structures.
When I learned that URI was building a new engineering complex, I was beyond excited. The construction happening on campus is like an engineers’ playground. I love to stop and observe what is going on because this is what I am going to be doing in the future. I am also excited because I will get to use this facility before I graduate. This totally new facility will enhance my education, which will lead to an exciting future. I know that every engineer will be like a kid in a candy shop when they first walk into this Complex.
I take great pride in being part of the URI engineering program and this new complex. And it’s not because I get paid to talk about it as a URI tour guide. It’s because I will be a part of URI’s College of Engineering’s next big step to strengthen URI as a world leader. I cannot wait to start learning in this amazing facility, which I know will prepare me for a great future.