STEM Professional of the week

Idazabeth Betances-Torres, E.I.      
US Army Corps of Engineers

The daughter of an Army veteran and social worker, Idazabeth Betances-Torres was born in Wurzburg, Germany and is the youngest of three children. As the daughter of an active-duty soldier, Ida had to move on several occasions until her family settled in their hometown of Yauco, Puerto Rico – a city located in the southern coast of the island. 

Ida’s path to engineering began in her magnet high school, which specialized in math and science. During this time, she began to volunteer after hours to work with the school’s Solar Car Team and participated in several engineering competitions, which inspired her to pursue a career in engineering.  This experience led Ida to enroll at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez as a civil engineering major. In 2008, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree and soon after received an offer to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New Orleans District. A few months later, Ida was given the opportunity to work in the organizations Structures Branch, where she remains today.

Now in her eighth year of working as a structural engineer alongside the men and women charged with protecting the New Orleans region from hurricane and storm damage and restores the Louisiana coastal ecosystem, Ida works with the Project Delivery team on several key projects forming a part of the Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System Program. In addition to these projects, she has designed major structures such as floodgates, pile foundations, floodwall, vessel impact barriers and other structures. Her efforts involved the application of engineering principles of concrete, steel, and pile group design. 

Described as a rising star in engineering and a prime example of an employee going above and beyond to complete the mission. Ida accepts new challenges and shows initiative to solve problems and teamwork approach to issues, reflect the highest of attributes to the Army and herself. She has also shown leadership and dedication to duty during her support of USACE Emergency Operations Response. During the past several years, the Mississippi Valley Division has seen historical and unprecedented levels of flooding in the Mississippi River and tributaries. In 2011, Ida volunteered for the USACE Response to the historic flooding the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers. 

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