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Former swimmer shines …

… as civil engineer and IRONMAN enthusiast

woman standing with white background

Chiara Robinson grew up in HOA1 and is now a civil engineer living in Indianapolis. She was a collegiate swimmer at Valparaiso University in Indiana and graduated in 2022 with her bachelor’s in civil engineering.

Back in the day, Chiara Robinson spent plenty of time roaming the great outdoors with her younger brothers and HOA1 neighborhood friends.  The Castle Pines Storm swim team, organized in part by her family, was the place she found her love of swimming, and her brothers, Cai and Cooper, discovered their preference for frozen water (and ultimately the game of ice hockey).

Robinson remembers the sense of community that came with providing meals and handmade decorated cards for Operation Bright Star each Thanksgiving.  What started small with her family collecting items on the driveway, expanded to clubhouse and larger clubhouse collections each year.  “That was incredible,” said Robinson.

Her teachers meant the world to her.  At Buffalo Ridge Elementary School, Robinson distinctly recalls her second grade teacher, Mrs. Wedge, and her “Catch the Wave” reading program.  “She really helped grow my love of reading,” Robinson shared.  At Rocky Heights Middle School, she took every class she could with art teacher Mrs. King.  King was training for an IRONMAN and Robinson was prepping for an IRONKID, creating a personal and inspiring connection.

At Rock Canyon High School, Robinson swam all four years, and made it to state both of her last two years.  Her coach, Nicole Vanderpoel, was someone she looked up to then and someone who continues to inspire her today.  Robinson was recruited to swim in college for Valparaiso University in Indiana where she captained her team both junior and senior years.

While at Valparaiso, Robinson studied civil engineering and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 2022.  During college, she joined a student organization called Working Across Vocations Everywhere through Service (WAVES).  She traveled to Guatemala during her sophomore year.  “It was a very eye-opening experience,” she said.

The idea behind WAVES is to approach projects based on community needs and then teach the community how to be self sufficient.  “It’s what they need versus what we thought they needed,” she added.  Robinson was part of the survey group that assessed and gathered data.  Other groups traveled later to build and install.  During her senior year, Robinson presided as president of WAVES, responsible for guiding the overall organization.

Today, Robinson is working as a civil engineer at a small firm, The Veridus Group, in Indianapolis.  She makes design practices based on sustainability.  The five-foot area outside of a building and beyond is her responsibility, including grading, drainage, utilities, underground water storage and parking lots.  “It’s important to keep harm away from the environment with water run-offs and puddles, for example,” she shared.  Currently, she is focused on multifamily residences and institutional and educational buildings.

Robinson is incredibly grateful for her supportive and close-knit company which values individual growth and personal success.  Recently, she earned her Lead Green Associate Certificate through the United States Green Building Council thanks to continuing education provided by Veridus.  She also completed a half IRONMAN earning what is known as a dream bonus, a quarterly financial and motivational encouragement program for an employee’s dream.

From here, Robinson would like to obtain her master’s degree abroad, perhaps in Denmark or Switzerland.  Having had a foreign exchange student from Denmark when she was in fifth grade has inspired her to embark on the unique experience of learning and living in another culture.

Might Colorado call back to her someday?  “Indianapolis has been really good to me, but I do miss Colorado and the mountains,” she said.  For now, she is soaking up all she can of Indianapolis, such as attending the Indianapolis 500 back in May.  “It was quite the experience!”

group of people outside in the winter

During a snowy Colorado day last December, Chiara Robinson enjoyed sledding at the hill at Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Boulevard with her family (minus her dad, Steve). Pictured left to right: Cooper (brother), Chiara, Jody (mom) and Cai (brother).

By Elean Gersack; photos courtesy of Chiara Robinson



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