Carnegie Mellon University

Collage of photos of Capri

October 17, 2023

Structural Engineering Meets Sustainability: Capri Keeler's Impact

Capri Keeler (MS ’20) chose to attend CMU because she knew she’d be challenged. “And I welcomed the challenge,” she says. She describes the school’s environment as sophisticated and nurturing—while also competitive in the best way possible. “I kept thinking to myself that everyone around me was so smart—and I was amazed that I got to be there, learning alongside them.”

Today, she’s using the engineering and sustainability skills gained at CMU as an associate consultant structural engineer at WSP USA. Keeler works with the bridge design team on engineering projects for the Texas Department of Transportation in Dallas.

“I coordinate with others to support projects for roadways, interstates, and county highways.” While she works mainly in the office, Keeler gets out on the job site and dabbles in design, communications, and participating in the company’s internship program.

Keeler is incredibly passionate about the internship program because she interned at WSP USA before being hired full-time. She believes that internships are a great way to learn about prospective careers and companies—and to build strong industry connections.

When Keeler faces a challenge at work, she immediately thinks back to her professors at CMU, who would give her a task and rely on her to find a solution. “I had to find information and answers on my own. Now I see how helpful that problem-solving was, especially when dealing with new things and having to figure them out quickly.” 

“Interdisciplinary learning really sets CMU apart from other schools—it’s very forward-thinking.”

Keeler adds that the ability to take classes in different areas of the university allowed for a-ha moments that connected her passion for sustainability with real-world learning opportunities. “Interdisciplinary learning really sets CMU apart from other schools—it’s very forward-thinking.” Keeler believes that the university is so far ahead in its teaching regarding sustainability that the rest of the working world is lagging and needs to catch up. 

To help the process along, Keeler continues to work toward a more sustainable future, supporting the mission of Infrastructure Vision 2050, a plan to create a modern, sustainable, and equitable infrastructure for all Americans over the next 25+ years.

Keeler says that her next goal is to devise a career path. For now, she’s enjoying the chance to be a part of a bigger movement that will lead others into a future where structural engineering and sustainability are intertwined. “It’s still a ways away, but I can see it getting clearer.”

She suggests that students thinking about pursuing a master’s degree feel confident in their decision and work hard to get everything they can out of coursework. “CMU’s programs are so advanced that you will be miles ahead of your peers when you graduate.”