From popsicle stick bridges to a civil engineering career

Edgar Robles was born to be an engineer.

He spent his childhood reassembling broken items, building bridges with popsicle sticks and questioning the mechanics of cars and trains.

Edgar grew up in Denver. No one in his family before him had attended college. He entered John F. Kennedy High School knowing he wanted to become an engineer one day. He studied hard in high school and prepared himself academically for college. But hard financial realities stared him in the face. He began to question the feasibility of going to college and paying for it.

His concerns were allayed somewhat when he visited the Denver Scholarship Foundation Future Center at his high school. DSF Advisor Renae Bruning, herself a first-generation college student knew what Edgar was going through.  She also knew how to erase his doubts and help him plan and pay for the college experience that would help him fulfill his goal of becoming an engineer.

“I can honestly say that if it were not for Renae Bruning I would not be where I’m at today,” Edgar said. “She was at the Future Center and wanted to help me. We started working together, filling out applications and we built this bond. Even to this day, I still keep in touch with her.”

Renae Bruning helped guide Edgar through the college application and complicated financial aid process.

Edgar gained admittance to the highly selective Colorado School of Mines, and thanks to Bruning and DSF cobbled together financing to make attending the pricey school possible. He graduated in 2013.

Today, Edgar is a civil engineering associate at Michele Baker International, a 5,000-employee civil engineering and consulting firm with more than 90 offices across the U.S. and overseas.

“Some of our projects are out in the Boulder County, helping the city and county of Boulder restore some of their roadway issue they’ve had from the recent 2013 September  floods, in addition to U.S. 36 on their design build,” Edgar said recently. “My office is located in Lakewood and I’m loving every day of it. They challenge me to make me think outside the box and push me for new ideas not only in the design aspect but within the office as well.”

Edgar benefitted from internships every summer during college. For his first two years, he interned with “Energy Future Holdings” a coal mining company in Texas, where he learned about mining engineering and also worked alongside engineers who were building a new retention pond.

For his last two years of college, he worked as an intern with CH2MHill, a prestigious engineering company, where he helped with roadway design, business, and marketing.

Edgar continues to credit DSF’s Future Center for his success.

“If it wasn’t for the Future Center, I honestly don’t know where I would be. Right now I would probably be without direction or any sort of guide as to where my life would be leading to.”