Back-to-school season is in the air.
Perhaps not such a popular time for the average middle-school student, but in the world of higher education, heading back to school is a good thing.
It’s a whole new set of exciting challenges and opportunities.
The ASCE News Civil Engineering Roundtable showcases insights on a variety of industry topics from a cross-section of ASCE members.
So, today’s question:
What’s the best part of your new school year?
P.E., F.ASCE, Teaching Associate Professor, Colorado School of Mines
“You might not be aware, but CSM has the absolute best outdoor field laboratory where, among other courses, students learn about surveying an infrastructure design and I have the utmost pleasure teaching it.
“As the school year rolls into fall each year you can find me, every Thursday afternoon, working with students outside the classroom in the warm Colorado autumn, where they establish roadway alignments and collect data for their projects. It’s the best!”
Cristiane Januzzi Queiroz Surbeck
Ph.D., P.E., ENV SP, F.EWRI, M.ASCE, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs in the School of Engineering, University of Mississippi
“I was on sabbatical last semester, so I am extra-excited to be back on campus this semester teaching and interacting with students. I’m looking forward to teaching my Environmental Remediation course and, as a course project, giving the students a real-life contamination scenario to work on.
“I also want to continue to improve my school’s experiential learning program to help our students develop outside-the-classroom skills to become excellent engineers.”
First-year Ph.D. student, North Carolina State University
“As a new Ph.D. student, I am most excited about collaboration. I feel that through cross-discipline research questions, civil engineers have a real opportunity to push our field forward.
“How can other knowledge (policy, psychology, and more) be applied to help us solve public-sector problems? This school year, let’s find out!”
Ph.D., EIT, A.M.ASCE, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, Merrimack College
“The start of the academic year brings new faces, new initiatives, and a refreshed sense of energy that permeates the hallways.
“Although I always appreciate the increased flexibility of my schedule during the summer months, as well as the chance to catch up on research and other things, nothing can replace the excitement of a new school year. The opportunity to educate new groups of students and contribute to their development as engineering professionals makes me remember why I entered this field in the first place.”
Stanley P. Rader
P.E., D.E., F.ASCE, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, United States Air Force Academy
“Civilian faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy are given the opportunity to take six-month sabbaticals once every seven years of teaching. Having taught for over eight years, I am taking a six-month sabbatical to South Africa beginning in January of 2019. I will be working in the Cape Town office of Engineering Ministries International, assisting them with structural engineering tasks, as well as exploring how to incorporate use of Revit into the Academy’s structural engineering curriculum.
“EMI forms teams of volunteer design professionals to go on short-term trips to nonprofit organizations around the world and assist them with their architectural and engineering needs. I’m hoping that some of my civil engineering students from the Air Force Academy will be able to visit South Africa during their upcoming spring break to learn more about the cultural and humanitarian opportunities available to civil engineers through such organizations as EMI.”
P.E., M.ASCE, Adjunct Professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology
“I’m most excited to meet another group energized seniors ready to graduate. It’s an insightful glimpse into the emerging workforce. It helps me gain a better understanding of the civil engineering student of today and ultimately work toward equipping them with the tools needed to succeed in practice.”
Ange Therese Akono
Ph.D., A.M. ASCE, Louis Berger Junior Professor, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University
“For this new year, I am looking forward to the incoming class of graduate students. I will be teaching one graduate course this year, and there will be two new additions to my research groups. It is always fascinating to interact with first-year graduate students.”