Community Service Drives Budding Engineer

February 25, 2016
Zane McGhee in Ecuador.

At the end of a long week of classes, Zane McGhee looks forward to more school.

Elementary school.

McGhee, S.M.ASCE, a junior civil engineering student at the University of South Carolina, volunteers Fridays at a Columbia, SC, elementary school near campus, supporting pupils on their Lego Robotics team.

“I love working with kids, seeing them smile, running around,” McGhee said. “To me, it’s the best part of my week.”

It is exactly the kind of work that prompted McGhee, a native of King, NC, to go into civil engineering. “I’m doing it to help people and help my community,” he said.

McGhee joined his school’s Engineering Without Borders USA chapter as a freshman and now serves as a project lead.

Last year he traveled to Ecuador with an EWB-USA team to help implement a new water irrigation system for a school.



“That experience was really great,” McGhee said. “It was truly mind-opening, being able to see how our chapter here was able to come up with a project, design the whole thing, and work with the community down there.”

He even got a chance to play soccer with some of the local children while in Ecuador. (McGhee was a four-year letter-winner in high school and captain of his indoor team at USC.)

Back home, McGhee is excited about his forthcoming career in transportation engineering – so excited, in fact, that he’s struggling to select a specialty on which to focus.

“I enjoy all of them, so it almost makes the decision harder,” McGhee said. “I want to learn all of it.”

ASCE’s New Faces of Civil Engineering recognition programs highlight the next generation of civil engineering leaders. By showcasing young, diverse, talented engineers the program shows that engineering is an exciting profession open to everyone. Ten honorees are selected by ASCE in each of two divisions: collegiate and professional.

Honorees receive recognition during National Engineers Week, which runs through Feb. 27, and at ASCE’s annual Outstanding Projects And Leaders (OPAL) Gala, March 17, in Arlington, VA.

1 Comment
  • Avatar cliff holler tallahassee florida

    I spent over 52 years in highway construction after graduating from USC in 1963 and I felt that civil engineering was a very satisfying career and learned a lot about all aspects of highway construction. The most important direction to go in highway engineering is to make sure you obtain your PE license as soon as possible because it will open many doors for a job. Good luck in your future careers and work hard in learning fundamental aspects of highway construction methods.

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