Isaac Williams

Class of 2016
Civil & environmental engineering

Why did you choose Berkeley Engineering?
I chose Berkeley Engineering because I wanted to be challenged and be surrounded by the best, both in terms of students and faculty. It was also rather difficult to say no to our beautiful campus and the Bay Area weather.

What do you like most about Berkeley Engineering?
Isaac WilliamsIsaac Williams (Photo by Preston Davis)My favorite thing about Berkeley is how much it demands out of me; its ability to foster a desire to succeed is unparalleled. Never again will I be surrounded by such a unique and driven group of people, and that is something I cherish every day.

What are you working on?
I am heavily involved with the Berkeley Steel Bridge team, a group that designs, fabricates and builds a scale model of a steel bridge every year and competes at a regional and national level. I also work on research that investigates the uses of high strength reinforcing steel in reinforced concrete seismic design. I am enrolled in a design class in the brand new Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, which has been challenging, as it is completely outside my comfort zone in the classroom, but using the new, world-class facilities to produce a cyber-physical system has been rather enjoyable.

What else do you do outside of class?
I am a California Mic Man, where I lead the student section at all Cal games in yells and cheers, and serve as the voice of Cal Athletics at a broad spectrum of events. I also work in Engineering Student Services, in the Center for Access to Engineering Excellence, and serve on both the campus Senior Gift Committee and the College of Engineering Senior Class Committee. I am involved in research in the civil engineering department, and I love to run, play intramural softball and talk to people about their experiences on our beloved campus.

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about my education and ensuring that I never stop accumulating knowledge, even after I leave the classroom. I am rather passionate about running marathons, when my body will allow it, and I enjoy learning about philosophy and history in my spare time. Perhaps most prevalent, of course, is my passion for the California Golden Bears and my love for Caffe Strada. 

Have you had a memorable “aha” moment at Berkeley Engineering?
It is a moment not entirely related to Berkeley Engineering, but to the university as a whole. While flying home to New Zealand in 2014, and wearing Cal apparel, I received a “Go Bears!” in the Auckland airport, proving to me the broad sphere of influence this institution has and how much of an asset a Berkeley degree is. As I have said before, it’s a “Go Bears” world, and everyone else is just living in it. 

What are your future plans?
I plan on attending graduate school to pursue an M.S./Ph.D. in structural engineering, and perhaps remaining in academia and continuing to pursue research and instruction. I also plan on seeing Cal win a Rose Bowl in my lifetime. Go Bears!

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