Student Spotlight: Gian Pambuena

Gian Pambuena
Gian Pambuena

Civil Engineering Tech major serves in U.S. Army Reserve

Originally from Dumaguete, Philippines, Gian Pambuena is a sophomore in the Civil Engineering Technology (CET) program at Dakota County Technical College. Gian was 6 years old when his family moved to Minnesota. Today, he serves in the U.S. Army Reserve as a technical engineer, or 12 T, with the 372nd Engineer Brigade based at Fort Snelling. Gian trains one weekend a month and has been in the Army Reserve for more than two years.

Over the summer, Gian completed a CET internship with WSB, a design and consulting firm specializing in engineering, community planning, environmental and construction services. He worked with computer-aided design (CAD) software, did construction inspections and assisted engineers on various projects.

Gian received a $1,500 Douglas Differt Difference Makers (D3M) Endowed Scholarship for fall semester 2019.

“A scholarship is an investment from the donor and the school,” Gian said. “Being a scholarship recipient means that they have trust in me as a student to do well in class and graduate from my program.”

After graduating from DCTC in spring 2020 with his Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree, Gian has plans to transfer to either the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, or the University of St. Thomas to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering.

“I’m leaning toward a career in designing and planning in civil engineering,” he said. “It’s something that’s been grabbing my interest since I’ve started the CET program—and I plan to do that as a job.”

More about Gian…

Gian played soccer for five years before graduating from Shakopee High School in 2017. After moving from the Philippines in 2006, his parents, Dux and Mariegold, settled in Spring Park and then Shakopee, Minnesota. Gian’s mom works as a home-care nurse; Gian has a younger brother named Lashley, 13.

In his free time, Gian loves to work on cars. “Especially my own, a 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse,” he said. “One of my goals right now is to fix my car as best as I can and slowly start working on gaining more horsepower. I’ll be starting a video channel soon, and the channel [@giancarlo_ytv] will just be my adventures on the cars I will be working on and also showing how to fix problems that have occurred on the vehicles.”

Drone technology introduced to CET program

Alan Hancock, an instructor in the Civil Engineering Technology program at Dakota County Technical College, recently introduced drone technology to the students in his program.

Alan purchased a DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone quadcopter as a new tool in a curriculum that covers CAD, civil drafting, land surveying, hydrology, materials testing, project management and much, much more. READ MORE…

DCTC News: How do you see drone technology influencing the future of civil engineering?

Gian Pambuena: Drone technology is revolutionizing the civil engineering world. Drones are fast and efficient at capturing and storing high-definition 3D images that can be used for design and monitoring.

You can easily access a building site and study the terrain before construction begins along with a plethora of other things thanks to the capabilities of the drone and its software.

View more photos by visiting:

CET Drone Demo on DCTC Flickr

Civil Engineering Technicians

Use principles of civil engineering to plan and design construction projects.

This career pays above the statewide median of $20.07/hour


Median: $28.51/hour
High: $32.54/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $28.94/hour
High: $34.53/hour


This career is seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 9.6 percent, or above the statewide average. There will be a need for about 2,362 new Civil Engineering Technicians to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Gian Pambuena Q & A

Gian Pambuena

Gian Pambuena

Why did you choose DCTC?
I chose DCTC because of the affordable tuition and the college’s recognition as one of the top 25 trade schools in the whole nation.

What do you like best about the Civil Engineering Technology program?
The instructors

Why did you choose civil engineering as your career field?
After high school, I took a break for a year because I joined the U.S. Army Reserve. I was away for six months training to be a technical engineer in the military. I knew on the civilian side that engineering was a good career field so I wanted to learn more and turn my technical training into a civilian job. I chose civil engineering technician as a career path because civil and my Army Reserve training were similar.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What is your greatest strength as a civil engineering student and future civil tech?
My greatest strength would be that I am resourceful. As a student, we have our software to use and the textbooks to help us with what our professors are teaching. If we need to find something, I can find it quickly. Overall, I use my resources to help me solve the problems I’m facing.

What were your duties as a CET intern at WSB?
My duties at WSB varied. I had my day’s doing typical Intern task but I also had the opportunity to work with CAD and do a couple of construction inspections throughout the internship. I also assisted with other engineers in my group and help take some load off from their work.

What one word best describes your experience at DCTC?


Gian Pambuena 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Soccer
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Iceland
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Swimming with whale sharks
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Start a business 2) Invest the money 3) Build my own house
  5. Favorite kind of music: Hip hop
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Spider-Man: Far From Home
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Travel around the world
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: King of Saxony bird-of-paradise
  9. Dream occupation: Business owner
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Elon Musk
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Coding
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Each other
Learn more about Civil Engineering Technology at DCTC by contacting:

Alan Hancock
Civil Engineering Technology Faculty