Sept. 15 - Oct. 15 is the national observance of Hispanic Heritage Month. Permanently put into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, the 30-day period recognizes the culture and contributions of American citizens of Hispanic origins coming from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
This year’s theme is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers embraces and celebrates diversity and is dedicated to ensuring equality for all Soldiers, civilians and family members.
“This month is a time to pause and look back to appreciate the hard work of our families, to remember where we come from and to always strive to do my best to make my people—my family, my friends, my coworkers—proud of who I am and how far we’ve come,” said Edgar Ramírez.
Ramírez is an electrical engineer who has been with the Charleston District for three years.
“I am part of the design branch with an emphasis on military construction projects,” he said. “Being an electrical engineer, my main focus orbits around interior/exterior power, lighting, grounding, lightning protection, communication, site development and exterior distribution.”
Ramírez joined USACE right after graduating college through the Department of the Army Intern program in 2018 and transitioned as a full-fledged USACE employee after two years.
“I’ve been interested in math and science ever since I was a kid,” he said. “Eventually when I learned about electrical engineering, I quickly became fascinated by its applications and promising potential. Skip forward to just before graduating college and a friend of mine who was recently hired as a Navy civilian recommended me to pursue a civilian career for the military which lead me to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers here in the Charleston District.”
Hispanic Heritage Month also encompasses Mexico’s Independence Day on Sept. 16.
“Both sides of my family are from central Mexico,” said Ramírez. “My lineage, to be more specific, comes from the indigenous people of the Cora and the Huichol, which reside in the area around the neighbor states of Nayarit and Jalisco, where my maternal and paternal side of the family respectively originate. Now that I live on the other side of the country and far from my folks, it makes me appreciate even more where I come from.”
Ramírez’s family was involved in the formation of the United Farm Workers, a union led by César Chávez. Its goal was guaranteeing rights, protections, and considerations for migrant farm workers.
“After the success of the UFW, my family decided to leave the agricultural work,” said Ramírez. “My father learned trades in air conditioning and electrical work, opened his own business and raised his children to go get an education so we could have a better life than he did.”
Having studied and established a career in STEM, Ramírez can now offer advice to the next generation.
“Chase your ambitions, hold on to your creativity, and never allow yourself to falter against math anxiety,” he said. “STEM courses may seem like an unclimbable wall, but always remember you don’t have to climb by yourself. Reach out to your classmates when you struggle and when you see someone struggling, reach out to them. Knowledge is for sharing. Form long-lasting study groups; get together, struggle together, and achieve together, and celebrate together. You will find that the people you struggle and achieve together with can be the best study partners, the best allies, and the best friends you can ever ask for. Ask professors for guidance and clarification. Most importantly, remember that when it comes to STEM, most often than not there will be a tutorial online. Google, YouTube, PatrickJMT, and Khan Academy never let me down.”
The Charleston District is proud to have Ramirez on their team.