Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering
Associate in Science
Rommel Castro was born and raised in the Ilocos region of the Philippines. After high school he began studying civil engineering at a university. At the age of 19, his family received a letter from the Embassy and learned that their application to become a permanent resident of the United States had been accepted. His aunt had petitioned for the family after moving to the Yakima Valley 20 years earlier. Wanting better opportunities for his future, Castro made the decision to put his studies on hold and move with his family to the United States, settling in Wapato, WA.
Unsure of how to pursue higher education in his new home, he began working in agriculture. He later held positions with the Yakima Herald Republic and Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital. One day while driving to his housekeeping job at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital, Castro noticed Yakima Valley College and decided to stop. He met with registration and learned what he would need to do to continue his degree in engineering. With support and a better understanding of the education system in the U.S., Rommel began attending YVC in the fall of 2016.
“I’ve always been interested in engineering,” stated Castro. “Since I was a child I’ve been interested in bridges, roads, and buildings. This interest really drove my decision to pursue a degree in engineering. I want to be part of building a better community,” he continued.
Outside the classroom he is an active member in YVC’s Engineering club. Through this membership has helped plan and execute community events including the annual Science Olympiad competition and Engineering Day for Kids. He is also part of YVC’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program. MESA works to build a pathway to college and careers in STEM fields and to increase the number of community college students who successfully transfer to four-year institutions and earn bachelor’s degrees. He has also had the chance to participate in two summer internship programs with the Washington State Department of Transportation while also working on his coursework.
To help pursue his studies he has received funding from the NEST program, YVC Foundation, and the Yakima Rotary.
Castro will graduate in the spring 2019 with an associate in science transfer degree. Previously, he earned an associate of applied science in civil engineering in spring 2018. Following YVC he hopes to transfer to University of Washington and pursue a bachelor’s degree. Ultimately, he hopes to return to the Yakima Valley and help provide a better life for his family. “Coming from a poor family I’ve experienced how hard life can be. I want to be a good example for others like me, and encourage them to strive for more,” he concluded.