Mark Dowdell ’09

dowdellContinuing a Family Legacy

Mark Dowdell always wanted to be an engineer. His father owns an engineering business, and his brother is an engineer. As a graduate of URI’s International Engineering Program, Dowdell enjoys continuing his family’s engineering legacy.

“I just think that I have the right mind for engineering,” said Dowdell, who comes from Charlestown, R.I. “And a high percentage of people with engineering degrees get good jobs—they’re always in demand.”

Dowdell chose civil engineering because he considers it the most practical of the engineering disciplines: “Everything in the world is civil engineering: The buildings, the roads, everything below the ground—everything is designed by civil engineers.”

As part of his education, Dowdell spent five months studying at the Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany and six months interning at the structural engineering firm Zublin in Stuttgart.

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“Most of the time I got really interesting jobs to do,” he said. “I worked with a doctor on a book he was writing about prefabricated concrete structures; I worked on the reconstruction of a mall; and I did a lot of design work. My main project was as a plan manager for a skyscraper they were building in Frankfurt.” Dowdell’s biggest challenge came in feeling confident of his German language skills: “It wasn’t as hard as everyone thinks, but it was definitely difficult. The best advice I could give is to just jump into it. Forget that you sound like an idiot when you’re speaking; forget that the Germans are saying to themselves, ‘Oh, man, we’ve got another American.’”

Upon his return from Germany, Dowdell became an ambassador for URI’s International Engineering Program, assisting at open houses and spreading the word about the value of the University’s most notable engineering program.

Dowdell is now an environmental engineer at Pare Engineering Corp. in Lincoln, R.I., where he is helping the company address water run-off and other environmental issues at the Johnston landfill.

—Todd McLeish

Photo by Nora Lewis.