Carnegie Mellon University

Ryan Rusali

April 28, 2021

CEE Spotlight: Ryan Rusali

By CEE DEI Committee

CEE senior Ryan Rusali dove into civil engineering initially with an interest for applying computing, sensors, and drones to facilitate structure inspections. However, he quickly realized that there was so much more he could offer in his position as a civil engineer.

It all came together when Ryan attended a talk given by Assistant Professor Destenie Nock  where she charged students to think about equity in engineering. “Equity and inclusion are at the forefront of her mind,” Ryan explains. "I left that presentation feeling so amazed in the way she lived out these ideals. In civil engineering we have so much embedded power over people, we need to hold ourselves to those same standards that Destenie holds herself to.”

Through his education and personal experiences at CMU, Ryan now knows that the role of a civil engineer is not only tied to providing infrastructure, but also to ensuring equity and inclusion in the community. “Historically, some designers have deliberately chosen to put structures in place to divide minority communities. Many students haven’t had the opportunity to learn these things and they may end up perpetuating these ideas,” he says. “What we’re doing is solving problems for people, there's a lot of room for things to go wrong if you're not thoughtful about people.”