Civil Engineering Technology Program at Gaston College readies students for infrastructure jobs

Civil Engineering Technology Program at Gaston College readies students for infrastructure jobs

Civil Engineering - DOT TestingThe Civil Engineering Technology program at Gaston College prepares students with the advanced technical training they need to join a materials testing, construction or surveying team as a civil engineering technician. Civil engineering technicians help civil engineers plan, design, and build projects such as highways, bridges, and other infrastructure projects for commercial, industrial, and residential clients. The College offers Associate in Applied Science degrees in Civil Engineering Technology and a certificate option.

Civil Engineering deals with conception, design, construction, supervision, operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector. “When I describe Civil Engineering, I always tell someone to step outside and look around,” said Scotty Brooks, Chair of the Civil Engineering Technology program. “Civil Engineers have a hand in anything that does not move. For example, the roads, the parking lots, the grading of the area, the planting of trees, the buildings, the drainage, water and sewer systems – Civil Engineers work on all of these areas. They even work on projects like launch pads for rockets.”

Graduates of the Civil Engineering Technology program work in material testing, construction, project management, surveying and computer-aided design and drafting, or CADD. They are employed in public, state and local, and private companies located in Gaston, Lincoln, and Mecklenburg counties and throughout North and South Carolina. Typically, most students who complete the Gaston College program attain employment in the industry quickly.

Nicholas Revels enrolled in the Civil Engineering Technology program after he graduated from high school. Through the program, he learned what a Civil Engineering technician may encounter in day-to-day duties on a job site, including how to operate land surveying equipment, how to draft a blueprint or a house layout, and that there are many ways to test soil and concrete. “Although I liked all of these different aspects of civil engineering,” said Revels, “I really enjoyed the drafting portion of the program. When I graduated from Gaston College in 2019, I was eager and ready to get out into the work field as a drafter.”

In less than a year, Revels was hired as a Level I Drafter for POWER Engineers, Inc. in Fort Mill, South Carolina. He has many roles at POWER that require him to keep up with documents, to work as efficiently and precisely as possible, and to be a team player. The job has also given Revels the opportunity to travel. “Within my first year at POWER Engineers, I have worked on several different substations located throughout the United States,” he said. “Some of these substations are brand new and some of them are existing but needed upgrades. My future is bright at POWER with a ton of potential. I have recently been given a bigger role with my substation team that will allow me to grow within not only my team but also with the company.”

In addition to his position as a Level I Drafter, Revels is now the CAD Coordinator for his substation team. As the CAD Coordinator, he oversees gathering all upcoming work for all the drafters within the department, assigns and distributes work to the drafters, and oversees work that comes in from other POWER Engineers offices. The company has more than 45 offices across North America.

“One thing I have learned over the years through my studies at Gaston College and in my job is that hard work, dedication, and a good ‘go get it’ attitude will pay off and work in your favor,” said Revels.

Yajayra Santiago entered the Civil Engineering Technology program at Gaston College in August 2020. The technology that allows for a better understanding of the engineering world and the hands-on activities attracted her to the program, which she will complete in May 2022. A January 2021 study found that only 18.2 percent of Civil Engineering Technicians are female, but that has not deterred Santiago from pursuing the career. “Anyone is capable of doing anything,” she said. “The number of females who have put their minds on this profession proves that, and hopefully more females will join us.”

If Santiago decides to continue her education beyond Gaston College, she intends to complete her four-year degree at UNC-Charlotte. Her career goals are to improve her study habits and enhance her technical skills while strengthening her decision-making process. She looks forward to a summer internship with Carolina Civil, a Lake Wylie, S.C.-based civil construction contracting firm, where she will be working in every department.

“The Civil Engineering Technology program at Gaston College is allowing me to better my educational skills and gain hands-on experience for the actual engineering world,” said Santiago. “I am looking forward to still learning many things. Everything has caught my interest so far, and my professors have been very kind and are preparing us students for what we need to know to succeed.”

The Gaston College organization for Civil Engineering Technology students, the Civil Club, has participated in many on-campus events to share with the college community what Civil Engineering Technology does in the world. Among other activities, Civic Club members have built their own cornhole sets and, prior to the COVID pandemic, held cornhole tournaments for the College and the community.

For more information about the Gaston College Civil Engineering Technology program, contact Scotty Brooks at or Instructor Jonathan Hollifield at



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