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CEEFA Board Member Wins Distinguished Service Award

Alumna Tarolyn Buckles is a Champion for STEM Diversity.

U-M Civil and Environmental Engineering alumni Tarolyn Buckles has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 College of Engineering Distinguished Service Award for the extraordinary contributions she has made to the city of Detroit, the civil engineering industry and the University of Michigan community.

Portrait of Tarolyn Buckles with quote reading, "The reason I am so involved as an alumni is because of my true passion for diversity and inclusion."
Alumna Tarolyn Buckles reflects on her experiences as an alumna.

“This award exceeds all of my other awards, as it comes from my alma mater. U-M prepared me with the professional and technical ability necessary to do the work, and was the springboard for my success,” says Buckles.

This award is presented to individuals that have generously given their time and talents to further the College’s projects and activities. Buckles has served on the College’s Multicultural Engineering Program Office Advisory Board and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Friends Association Board, where she champions student and alumni collaborations and promotes diversity within the student population. Buckles has also been nominated to join the Michigan Engineering Alumni Board in 2018, where she will help spearhead the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) student alumni engagement efforts.

A champion of diversity, equity and inclusion, Buckles is the former National Diversity Manager for ARCADIS US, Inc. and has conducted two diversity conferences for the American Society of Civil Engineers in Detroit. She has been a mentor to countless students over the years. A tireless community volunteer, Buckles has been involved with the Water Access Volunteer Effort for over 14 years,which provides assistance to low-income families during a crisis by ensuring uninterrupted access to safe drinking water and sanitation services.

“The reason why I am so involved as an alumni is because of my true passion for diversity and inclusion,” says Buckles. “Now I am ‘paying it forward’ in my push for diversity, making sure all young people have access to an excellent education.”

A love for STEM started early for Buckles. “My interest in engineering began as early as 12 years old. I knew I wanted to go into a technical field. I chose engineering in high school because of my love of math and science,” she said.

While studying at U-M, Buckles says the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering prepared her well for her career. “The curriculum at CEE had a practical component to it that I was able to use immediately in the professional field, everything from structures to materials to hydraulics,” says Buckles.

Buckles is the President and CEO of Onyx Enterprises, a certified woman and minority-owned small business headquartered in Detroit. Onyx provides engineering consulting, project management and construction management services to local, state, federal government, engineering consulting firms, and contractors. Buckles is very proud of the success of Onyx, having grown the company in size and revenue by 50 percent each year.