Karen Islas

Karen Islas
Transportation Engineer
she/her

Karen Islas is a STEM advocate in the civil engineering industry within the San Diego–Tijuana region. She is a Transportation Engineer (Civil) with the California Department of Transportation, also known as Caltrans, in District 11 which oversees San Diego and Imperial Counties. With Caltrans, she has been able to work with State partners in a variety of programs and projects since she joined in early 2018, including the 40-year $869 million North Coast Corridor Program, the SR-78 & SR-76 Corridors, minor maintenance projects and District Director’s orders encompassing the 1,000+ center lane miles of state highways, and the strategic Caltrans working group for Senate Bill (SB) 743 implementation on state highway systems under the Director’s Office of Sustainability Program in Sacramento, CA. Karen is currently preparing for her upcoming assignment with the State Route 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry and adjacent projects, where she will assist in collaboration efforts within our border region. Prior to her employment with Caltrans, Karen worked at the City of San Diego for general-fund and enterprise-fund departments handling complex projects that included coordination with Councilmembers’ offices, decision-making body briefings and public hearings, and constant cooperation with stakeholders. Moreover, she leads mentorship efforts and participates in symposiums and courses at San Diego State University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. After all, the ever-changing civil engineering industry and the lack of representation within STEM motivates her to continue learning and preparing herself to surpass any hardships that may arise.


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