County hires first female engineer

BROWNSVILLE — Cameron County Commissioner David Garza says that as far as he’s been able to determine, Paolina Vega is the state’s only female county engineer.

What’s certain is that women historically have been woefully under represented in engineering, including civil engineering. Vega, who succeeded Ernesto Hinojosa as Cameron County engineer less than a month ago, said she thinks it may be partly because of the work environment.

“You have to work with machinery,” she said. “You’re going to be outside looking at construction. Maybe that’s a little intimidating. Maybe there’s not a lot of information out there regarding what civil engineers actually do.”

Vega’s work for the county involves mostly transportation-related projects such as road construction, though during the course of her career she’s also worked on water and sewer projects and parks, and served as a consultant.

“What I’ve been doing mostly is helping communities or helping people, cities build their roads, build their parks, (and) obtain money just to make the community a better place,” she said.

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