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As a high school senior in western Massachusetts, Victoria Dutille had three goals: to play Division I soccer, earn an engineering degree and serve her local college community.

Missions accomplished. At Temple, Dutille was:

• a four-year scholarship athlete with the Owls’ women’s soccer team 

• a member of the College of Engineering Honors Program who, in May, will receive her BS degree in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering

• a leader of Athletes Intervarsity, a Christian fellowship and Bible study group for Temple athletes, and an organizer of a Big Brothers Big Sisters-related flag football program for neighborhood girls.

She next will pursue a master’s degree in geotechnical engineering—which focuses on soil mechanics and behaviors—at Oregon State University. 

“I came here to play soccer and loved every minute of it,” says Dutille, “but I realized that being here was so much more than being on the soccer team and competing. At Temple, I made great friends in athletics and engineering. I found my engineering identity—my love of civil and geotechnical engineering—and I worked with the greatest professors who fed my intellectual curiosity. “

Among those was Joseph Coe, assistant professor of civil & environmental engineering, who stoked her passion for soil mechanics.

She was primed for that class after spending five weeks the previous summer studying in Australia and New Zealand. “I was blown away by how entire city blocks and neighborhoods in Christchurch, New Zealand, had been completely leveled by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011,” she recalls. “Realizing the immense power that the Earth has over us really got me interested in geotechnical engineering.”

AT OSU, Dutille plans to research the liquification of soils caused by earthquakes. She then hopes to become a consulting geotechnical engineer who both analyzes building site soil issues and conducts post-earthquake reconnaissance surveys to determine what occurred and how to rebuild.

“What I love about engineering,” she says, “is that most people don’t think about the work we do, yet they need us to live out their day-to-day lives. Civil engineers are the unsung heroes of society.”