University of Delaware
More than 50 civil engineering students turned out for a career event at UD.

College Night

Civil engineering students get career advice from professionals

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8:10 a.m., April 5, 2016--More than 50 civil engineering students turned out for a career event at the University of Delaware on Thursday, March 24, presented by the Philadelphia chapter of the Structural Engineering Institute.

The event included a networking session; welcome remarks by Tripp Shenton, chair of UD’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and SEI’s John Milius; a technical presentation by student Andrew Wells; and a panel discussion among seven professionals including several UD alumni.

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According to SEI board member Daniel Kucz, the goal of the event was to engage students who are on the path to enter the structural engineering industry. 

“Our objective at SEI is to advance the science, practice, and profession of the structural engineering industry,” said Kucz, of Figg Bridge Engineers Inc.

“Advancing the industry for the future includes, perhaps most importantly, the promotion of structural engineering among students and future engineers. This event accomplishes precisely that objective by bringing people of our industry together, on campus, in the students’ ‘back yard.’” 

Sophomore Christina Lawless found value in the panel’s discussion of what is expected of first-year interns. She learned that new interns should be patient, hardworking, and open-minded.

“The panel also stressed that all interns should be inquisitive because it shows not only that you care about the work you are doing, but also that you want to learn and improve your skills as an engineer,” she said. “I hope to consciously try to display these characteristics when interviewing with future employers.” 

Junior Edward Burke was pleased to hear panelist Neil Shemo from AECOM say that students should make a decision about graduate school based on what is best for them, including the possibility of earning an advanced degree in a field other than civil or structural engineering.

“I always thought it would be a good idea for me to have a business background, but for a professional engineer to say this really made me think,” Burke said. “As a result of hearing Mr. Shemo’s comments, I plan to keep pursuing a minor in business administration, and hopefully I can become more knowledgeable about the business and management part of a company.”

For Shenton, the event was a great opportunity for students to network with practicing structural engineers from the region. 

“They learned a lot about what it takes to be successful in the industry, what they can expect when they get out in the work force, and the importance of lifelong learning,” he said. “It was a wonderful event, and I am grateful for the Philadelphia Chapter of SEI for coming to UD for their annual College Night this year.”

The panel was moderated by Joe Fabio of HNTB Corporation. Panelists included:

Article by Diane Kukich

Photos by Wenbo Fan

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