College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Putting the pedal to the metal in road safety: Zoami Calles-Rios Sosa

Sosa holding hard hat with car passing in the background
Sosa holding hard hat with car passing in the background

Zoami Calles-Rios Sosa, senior in civil engineering, has put the pedal to the metal to inspire and create a positive change in the field of transportation technology.  

Sosa was born in Mexico and moved to Iowa during elementary school. Her experience moving to the United States ingrained a passion in her to give back to the place that’s given her so much. She didn’t know it would be through transportation engineering, but she knew it had to be a career where her skills could translate into making a positive impact.  

“I knew I had to find a career path where I could use my skills to make the world a better place,” said Sosa. “I took a gamble in choosing civil engineering as my major. I felt it was the right choice, but I wasn’t entirely sure what the outcome would be. Everything became clearer and clearer as I went. I learned about transportation engineering after being in the civil engineering program.” 

Zoami has gained unique hands-on experience with transportation through her internships. Networking with people behind the organizations has been an excellent thing for her. From her experience with the Iowa DOT, she saw incredibly talented and passionate individuals dedicated to ensuring safe roads. Safety was an area that Sosa was very passionate about, and it inspired her in wanting to help accomplish the zero-fatality goal. The purpose of it is to advocate for eliminating serious injuries and deaths on our nation’s roadways. 

“The zero-fatality goal is something that I want to help achieve,” said Sosa. “I am also looking forward to being part of the cool things happening in transportation engineering. One day, I will have the skill sets to be part of the group that gets to architect the future of transportation.” 

Sosa holding hard hat in front of Town Engineering

Sosa’s passion for transportation technology has inspired her to teach the next generation of learners. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she started teaching basic computer science courses at DMACC and has done so for three years. Outside of spending time with her family and two kittens, she enjoys finding volunteer work to help give back to her community. As Zoami’s career continues to blossom, she provides excellent advice for anyone wanting to pursue a career in transportation. 

“Just go for it,” said Sosa. “I encourage anyone who wants to take this journey to find and build a community around themselves. When things get tough, it will be your community that will help you pull through. I’m at the cusp of graduation, but I couldn’t have done this on my own.”