Working towards a sustainable future
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Student: Liliana Hernández González

Name: Hernández-González, Liliana M.

Hometown: Arecibo, Puerto Rico

Institution: University of Puerto Rico

Campus: Mayaguez Campus

Rank: Junior Undergraduate Student

Major: Civil Engineering

Expected date of graduation: December 2014

Degree: B.S in Civil Engineering

USDA Agency of interest: Agricultural Research Service



Career cxperience/location:

I did an undergraduate research last summer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Modified Asphalt Research Center where I worked with asphalt mixtures

produced at ambient temperatures for the preservation and maintenance of pavements.


Description of career experience:

From this experience I learned on how to produce asphalt cold mixtures for the slurry and chip seals surface treatments. Those cold mixtures have less emissions to the

environment and reduce the energy consumption. I worked specifically on testing the early and late bond strength of those mixtures using the Bitumen Bond Strength Test

and apparatus. Also, I learned about the different projects that the graduate students are doing there and how is the live as a graduate student working in a lab.


What is your perception of agriculture now:

The agriculture, the water quality and the land available for agriculture are three essential aspects for the people in this world. It is our responsibility to educate our society

and work hard to improve the quality of water and the food that we consume.


How has this career experience broadened your employment opportunities:

This experience broaded my employment opportunities because now I have more knowledge in the different techniques of how the asphalt mixtures are designed and how

they are applied to the road surface. In addition, I have gain more knowledge of the different components that affects the bond strength of a mixture as the types of

aggregates, curing temperatures and times, asphalt binders, among others. Also, with this experience I have learned how to develop an experiment design and how to create

a research poster and paper.


Career and research aspirations:

My short term goals are to obtain a COOP or career experience with the USDA Agency before I graduate. My long term goals are to be accepted in a Graduate School in order

to obtain a Master and a Doctor’s degree in the field of Material Science or in Environmental and Sustainable Engineering. In the future, I see myself working in a research lab

as in the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA Skill Set: Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point)-Visual Basic Application (VBA)-Autodesk AutoCAD- AutoCAD Civil

3D- Google SketchUp Program-ImageJ- leadership and team work skills-time management.


The impact of my career experience:

My career experience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison impacted my life in many aspects. It helped me to decide that I want to pursue graduate studies and obtain a

PhD. Also, it helped me to do networking with many professors in different research areas. Now I have more confidence on my abilities and learned on how to manage my

time in order to finish a large research project in just 10 weeks. Last summer, I worked in a project where I tested more than 300 samples. I thought that an important

thing that I learned from this experience was to work under pressure and to prepare weekly reports for my research mentor that will help me in future work experiences.

In addition, this experience helps me to see that there are many opportunities for us and that the key is to work hard to obtain them and that anything is impossible.

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