ADOT Kids: Meet Engineer-in-Training Babak Dehghani

ADOT Kids: Meet Engineer-in-Training Babak Dehghani


ADOT Kids: Meet Engineer-in-Training Babak Dehghani

ADOT Kids: Meet Engineer-in-Training Babak Dehghani

By John LaBarbera / ADOT Communications
February 25, 2021

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be an ADOT engineer? 

Meet Babak Dehghani. He’s a construction engineer in ADOT’s Engineer-In-Training (EIT) program. He decided to become an engineer because “you could literally change the world.”

That’s barely a brag! Our engineers certainly make Arizona move by ensuring that every road, bridge, airport, water supply and mass transit system is well-planned and completed.

Babak entered the EIT program in January 2020 and in just over a year has worked for a lot of different groups ranging from roadside development to the bridge group.

“Currently I am in construction operations,” Babak said. “The ADOT EIT program is an amazing introduction to the professional world. By working under registered professionals you get the training and experience you need to become a professional engineer. ”

How did he get here? Well, first, Babak went to school. To be accepted in the EIT program, you must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering. A few lessons Babak picked up from his time attending the Fulton School at Arizona State University have stuck with him. 

“The important things you learn from school are in the methods of learning and working well with others,” Babak continued,  “The most important lesson is how to deal with the real world.”

Engineers play an important role for all ADOT projects. Babak says. “It is the transportation engineer's responsibility to plan, design, build, maintain and operate these systems of transport, in such a way as to provide for the safe, efficient and convenient movement for the public.”

He says he’s most happy with his work to build a brand new type of freeway interchange at I-10 and Houghton

“I was very proud to work under registered professionals and paraprofessional staff members to see the first diverging diamond interchange built in Tucson.”

Do you have an interest in becoming an engineer? Well, Babak has some tips for you.

“Take the FE exam before graduation.”

That’s the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, and passing it is one of the first steps you’ll take to become a professional engineer. Babak also said it’s important to pick exactly what type of engineer you want to be. Plus, when you are in school, you can find engineering groups to be a part of on campus. Groups like the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Concrete Institute, and Construction Management Association of America will help when you go searching for your dream job.

“It needs to be on your resume,” Babak said.

Just what does Babak want to do when he graduates from the EIT program in 2022?

“I would love to be part of the I-10 Broadway Curve Improvements project.” He may well get that chance, as the project is slated to start soon and last until 2024.

For now, though, he’s thrilled to be part of the EIT program.

“I’m lucky to work alongside extremely capable and experienced engineers who are always willing to help, guide, and prepare you for the professional world of engineering.”

And he’s keeping a positive outlook as to what’s on the horizon for transportation in Arizona.

“Future technologies can improve the safety, efficiency, reliability, and resilience of our transportation network."

 If you are interested in being an "engineer-as-a-career," stayed tuned for more ADOT Kids videos, blogs and activities running this week for National Engineers Week. And make sure to check out the ADOT Kids website or find #ADOTKids on social media!

ADOT Kids: Engineer Joselyn Valero loves her job

ADOT Kids: Engineer Joselyn Valero loves her job


ADOT Kids: Engineer Joselyn Valero loves her job

ADOT Kids: Engineer Joselyn Valero loves her job

By Lori Baker and Laurie Merrill / ADOT Communications
February 24, 2021

Hey, kids, do you like math and science, and helping people?

Then it’s not too early to think about becoming an engineer! You might even decide you want to work as an engineer for the Arizona Department of Transportation.

That’s what Joselyn Valero did! Ever since she was a little girl, Joselyn knew she wanted to grow up and become an engineer.

After all, she has always had a knack for numbers and an affinity for science. She also wanted a career that would enable her to help people.

So working as a development engineer for ADOT is a perfect fit.

“I always loved math and I knew I wanted to be something where math was a big part of it. The idea of building a bridge or a skyscraper fascinated me,” said Joselyn.

Not only is Joselyn an engineer, she is also a project supervisor at the Casa Grande Construction Field Office!

One thing she is really excited about is a first-of-its kind dust detection and warning system on a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 10 near Casa Grande. This system warns drivers if they are about to drive into dust storms – and how severe the storms are. The system can even lower speed limits to match the weather!

“It will definitely make driving safer,” Joselyn said.

Joselyn studied hard to meet her goal. She earned high grades, graduated from high school and then attended Arizona State University. She got not just one, but two degrees in engineering; a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

She interned at ADOT in 2013 and two years later, she joined ADOT’s popular, two-year Engineer-in-Training program. She worked for a number of different teams and was able to piece together how each relates and relies on one another.  It gave her a big picture view and diverse experience.

“You get to see what all the different groups in engineering do as opposed to getting a job at a specific group where all you experience is what that one group does,” she said.  “I also really enjoyed going to different parts of the state and meeting so many people!”

Here are some of her training experiences:

  • In the Kingman construction field office, she worked on a mill and fill project for US 93 to Las Vegas. A mill and fill project is when a layer of asphalt pavement is removed and replaced with a new layer.
  • In the Prescott Regional Laboratory, Joselyn tested materials before they were  put into highways.

“I was able to run every test that we do when testing asphalt, soils and concrete,” Joselyn said.

  • In the Contracts and Specifications Group, Joselyn worked on the plans and contract for the Earley Road to Interstate 8 project. This was part of the I-10 widening project between mileposts 196 and 200 near Casa Grande.

For Joselyn, working for ADOT is a career dream come true.

You can make YOUR dream come true, too! Are you interested in being an “engineer-as-a-career?” We hope so! There are many different kinds of engineers at ADOT.

Check out more ADOT Kids videos, blogs and activities during National Engineers week. You can search for #ADOTKids on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to learn even more about engineering, go to the ADOT Kids website: azdot.gov/ADOTKids.

Engineer-in-Training Program participants grow with ADOT

Engineer-in-Training Program participants grow with ADOT


Engineer-in-Training Program participants grow with ADOT

Engineer-in-Training Program participants grow with ADOT

February 20, 2019

By Laurie Merrill / ADOT Communications


Yudi Lei has always been fascinated by transportation and has a knack for math and science. Plus, she likes to tinker.

"I like to fix stuff, like my bicycle," said Lei, who was born and raised in China and graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s in civil engineering from a Chinese university.

After earning her master’s in transportation engineering from Arizona State University, Lei’s next step was only natural: joining the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Engineer-in-Training Program.

She decided to become an engineer to combine her loves of travel and drawing.

“I design in the office and I travel myself,” she said.

Now in her second year with the Engineer-in-Training Program, Lei has found a niche working on intelligent traffic design and traffic data prediction.

“I want to be involved in the future of transportation,” Lei said. “All the devices ADOT is working on are devices for the future.”

When Joselyn Valero started her engineering career with the ADOT, she was sure she wanted to concentrate on bridge design. But her path changed after rotating through multiple areas of study during the two-year Engineer-in-Training Program.

Valero discovered her true passion elsewhere within the Infrastructure Delivery and Operations Division.

“We inspect and supervise construction projects,” said Valero, who was hired as a full-time employee in 2017 in the department’s Casa Grande office. “We make sure everything is built according to all the ADOT specifications, all the ADOT rules and all the ADOT plans.”

Valero first joined ADOT in 2013 as an intern after earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in construction engineering from Arizona State University.

“I love ADOT and really hope to make a leadership career here,” Valero said.

Both women are products of the Engineer-in-Training program, an apprentice-style education that provides hands-on experience and side-by-side mentoring to graduates with civil engineering, technology or construction management degrees.

Joselyn Valero, ADOT Development Engineer

“I am super-excited about this program,” said Candee Samora, Engineer-in-Training and Intern Program manager. “These young adults come in and they have so many tools already along with their fundamentals of engineering. They are motivated and amazing.”

Each has an individually developed two-year schedule in the Engineer-in-Training Program that allows the participant to choose from a variety of disciplines for rotations that last from one to six months. These include such areas as project management, roadway design, environmental planning, multimodal planning and materials lab, among others.

There are currently 10 participants in the Engineer-in-Training Program, Samora said. Each has entered the department with the fundamentals of engineering portion of the professional examination complete. ADOT offers help in attaining the next major milestone: the rank of professional engineer.

Trainees often shine in leadership roles, Samora said. It's an entry-level training program that provides a foot in ADOT's door, providing a win-win for participants and the agency.

One such alumnus, Rob Samour, ADOT’s senior deputy state engineer for major projects, credits the Engineer-in-Training program with helping get him where he is today.

“The EIT program was a good introduction to my career in civil engineering, and it showed me the great things that (ADOT) does on a daily basis,” Samour said in a testimonial for the program.

Resident Engineer Adam Brahm, who oversees the Salt River segment of South Mountain Freeway construction, is among those who heap praise on the experience.

“School can supply you with the pool of knowledge for becoming an engineer, but you need a platform from which to leap into the profession,” Brahm said in his testimonial. “ADOT’s EIT program has provided me many platforms from which to dive into different facets of engineering.”

But it’s the people that make working at ADOT so enjoyable, Lei and Valero said.

“Every time I ask anyone anything I don’t know, they make themselves available,” Lei said. “They are willing to train people. That’s really impressive.”

Said Valero: “The people are amazing.”