Jonathan Fili (’13)
Jonathan Fili graduated from CBU with a BS in Engineering Physics in 2013. As a student, he was very active in his fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and in Campus Ministry, for whom he led the music ministry for student masses.
Jonathan moved on to pursue his master’s degree in Geotechnical Engineering at Mississippi State University and presented his graduate research in numerical methods in partially saturated soil mechanics at both the Pan-American Conference for Unsaturated Soils and the Engineering Mechanics Institute. Upon his graduation in 2017, he returned to Memphis as an engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers and immediately became involved on campus again by returning to his old role of leading the CBU Student Mass music with his guitar and singing talents. The mass had been without steady music for several years, so Jonathan helped students to connect more deeply and spiritually during the mass by being able to join and lift up their voices in song.
Jonathan also stepped into the role of Chapter Advisor for TKE, which he continued until his position as a Geotechnical Engineer with the United States Army Corps of Engineers relocated him to the Little Rock District. He has since served as the fraternity’s Province Advisor and currently as its Grand Province Advisor, in which he has worked with several regional chapters in fundraising efforts to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and to train other advisors and undergraduate members in leadership skills and professional development. Jonathan was awarded the Grand Prytanis Key Leader Award in 2019 at the TKE National Conclave.
Jonathan’s work with the Army Corps of Engineers led to his being awarded the Civilian Service Achievement Medal by the Department of the Army for his work in the flood-fighting efforts of 2018 and 2019 on the Mississippi River. And while employing his award-winning engineering skills for all of our benefit, he also began teaching a junior level Foundation Design class as an adjunct professor in the CBU Civil Engineering department — which he continues to teach each spring (remotely now, from Little Rock). Jonathan takes his teaching job for this one and only class very seriously, and he deeply cares for each student he teaches. He does his best to prepare his students for real world scenarios with pictures and videos of him doing his work out in the field, as well as with class projects that ask the students to design their own foundations. He is quick to respond to students by email and phone to assist them with questions about homework or class projects, and even goes the extra step by helping with resumes and job searches.
Jonathan says that the most important lesson he learned at CBU was “Don’t procrastinate!” (Although he also says he is still learning that lesson.) And his favorite memory at CBU? Meeting his wife, Dr. Cameron Volpe Fili (’13), during their freshman year at CBU. Luckily, they did not procrastinate in starting their life together — or in doing the great work they both do, both professionally and in service to the community, for which CBU helped prepare them.