Photo of Floraliza Bornasal '09, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil engineering at Saint Martin's
January 25, 2019

LACEY, Wash. – Floraliza Bornasal ’09, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil engineering at Saint Martin’s, has been selected as one of 15 emerging scholars for 2019 by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. The magazine has been recognizing an interdisciplinary group of minority scholars for their research, teaching and scholarly contributions since 2002, and selects the honorees from hundreds of nominations made by peers in the field and department chairs. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education is a source of news, information and commentary on the full range of issues concerning diversity in American higher education. 

“When I first heard about the recognition, I felt both honored and humbled,” Bornasal said. “I tend to put my head down and just focus on doing the work, so when other people acknowledge my effort, it tends to be a little shocking to me. After the shock subsided, I felt just really grateful to be able to share such an honor with my colleagues from around the country.”

Bornasal discussed what the recognition from Diverse: Issues In Higher Education means to her. “I’m grateful. Saint Martin’s was foundational in my growth when I was a student, and now that I’m a faculty member, I’m honored to represent the Saint Martin’s community in this way,” she said. “When I started my path through civil engineering (and higher education, in general), I had limited exposure to other people whose life experiences completely matched with mine: Being a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines, then growing up in a small farming area in eastern Washington, then being among the first generation in my family pursuing higher education and graduate degrees and being a female civil engineer. Sharing this recognition with other faculty members around the country, whose life experiences are also varied and diverse, is truly an honor. Hopefully, by sharing our stories through this recognition, we can represent various backgrounds, personalities and experiences with which our students and colleagues around the county can also resonate.”

Bornasal is an alumna of Saint Martin's University, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 2009. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering at Oregon State University. Her doctoral dissertation examined the ways engineers used, represented and interpreted engineering concepts in the social and material context of "everyday" work. Her areas of interest in research are situated cognition, conceptual understanding and growth, research methods, discourse analysis and safety in transportation engineering. Her areas of concentration in teaching are transportation engineering, research methods and engineering education. She also serves as the faculty advisor for the four cohorts of Saint Martin’s Benedictine Scholars, high-achieving students who serve as ambassadors for the Benedictine values and the core values of Saint Martin’s—faith, reason, service and community.

“Dr. Bornasal is an exceptional scholar, teacher, and mentor,” said Dave Olwell, Ph.D., dean of the Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering. “She enriches the entire Saint Martin’s community, and is particularly inspirational to our student body in all its diversity. We are very blessed by her many contributions.”

Bornasal said that, as a graduate of Saint Martin’s, she wants to instill in students the same values she learned when she was a student. “When I graduated from Saint Martin’s a decade ago, I left with a sense of responsibility to meaningfully contribute to the communities in which I lived. I want my students to graduate from Saint Martin’s with that same sense of responsibility. My personal mission is to create a space in my classrooms that allow for my students to be conscious of that responsibility, actively engage in pursuing knowledge and grow as whole individuals.”

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 26 majors and ten graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

For additional information:

Floraliza Bornasal, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering

David Olwell, Ph.D.
Dean, Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering

Kevin Hyde
Media Relations Manager