Earn an in-demand college degree. Check. Graduate debt-free. Check. Land a great job after graduation. Check again! Join us in congratulating our newest Project Engineer, Jessica Gonzalez. Her journey is highlighted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in this new video.

Jessica, who joined Loven Contracting as an intern, was born in Yuma and moved back and forth between the US and Mexico for most of her childhood. She has worked hard to carve out a brighter future for herself and her family.

Achieving Economic Mobility

New data from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shows three key factors foster economic mobility. They are: an affordable college education, a strong work ethic, and a degree with real market value. Northern Arizona University, where Jessica earned her civil engineering degree, has made equitable value and economic mobility a central part of its mission. In other words, NAU is “redefining the value of a college degree,” foundation co-chair Bill Gates said in a post on his blog.

Because of NAU’s commitment to fostering economic mobility, Gates visited Flagstaff and studied NAU’s efforts to make a college education more attainable for indigenous students and those from households with incomes of less than $65,000 a year. Despite countless requests over the years, Gates delivered only the third commencement address of his career this month in Flagstaff. (His other two commencement addresses were at ivy-league colleges: Harvard in 2007 and Stanford in 2014.

From College Intern to Project Manager

Like Gates, Jessica is a fan of NAU. The university was a great match for her and her goals, she says, and she was able to graduate debt-free. “I feel very proud to be graduating from a university that encourages students to pursue degrees that have value,” she says. What’s next for this bright young adult?  “I want to use my civil engineering degree to give back to my family and my community because I’ve been helped in many ways.”

As part of Loven Contracting’s mentor-led internship program, Jessica said she learned about every aspect of the construction process – from preconstruction to construction and beyond – and had the opportunity to gain real-world experience.

As a Project Engineer at Loven Contracting, Jessica will be working in a team setting to support the project management process and exceed customer expectations in both process and product. “During the internship, I realized that I love the collaborative nature of being a project engineer,” she says. “And, at the same time, I fell in love with the company.”

Jessica Gonzalez honored by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation