Around this time 2 years ago, I declared my major as civil engineering here at Tufts! Since then it's been a total whirlwind, and I can't even believe that it's been two years already! Junior year has been a tough year acacemically: my classes have become more demanding and therefore, more stressful. But, that being said, I love civil engineering!
Want to know why?? :) (Shout out to my amazing civ-e class of 2014!)
1. There are so many puns to make! In line for dessert at the 2011 student-faculty dinner (annual fancy dinner with all civil and environmental students and professors!): Me: Hey, that table cut in front of us! Abby: Now guys, let's be civil... ha ha ha :P On designing welds for plate girders in our steel design homework: Ian: Cynthia, have you done the part with the welds yet? Me: Nope. Ian: Oh weld! :P ...
2. Professor Brian Brenner wrote Bridginess. Also, he talks about "bridge eye candy."
3. We know each other, and work with each other. My class is always doing homework together and the civils have our own computer lab in the EPDC (Engineering Project Development Center!) with a bunch of computers and a giant white wall we can write on and a glass wall we can write on too! We also work and collaborate with each other in labs and projects. Total, there are maybe 25? or so people in our junior class, which is a perfect size for us. The department overall also has this great way of connecting different classes, and the seniors have been awesome in giving us advice and helping us with our homework. (If you're a freshman or sophomore civ-e, check out our buddy system event on Monday (3/4) night to pair up with an upperclassmen for advice/fun chats! :D) It's been wonderful, and I couldn't imagine being a civil engineering student here without my classmates (friends!)! We encourage each other, support each other, help each other, make each other laugh, and teach each other! :)
4. We break things in lab. Testing the strength of concrete? Let's crush it! Made this bridge? Let's load it until it breaks and see where it breaks and why! (Check out my photo!! Made AND broke that bridge!! :D) This piece of aluminum? Let's chop it in half! This block of wood? When you put enough load on top of it, there's this really cool failure plane that shows up! Made a brick? Yeah, let's crush that too! Wait, now let's put plastic in it, crush it again, and see what the difference is! (Plastic made the brick stronger, btw! :D) Our geotechnical and introduction to civil engineering labs just turn into a giant playground of sand, dirt, concrete, metals. And it's so fun!!
5. We get excited about straight edges. Hannah: Guys, check out my new architect's scale!! Everyone else: NICE! Kevin: I was giving out free rulers at work, anyone want one? Everyone else: ME!
6. We like statics. The forces on that structure have to add up to zero. "If not, your bridge is accelerating." - Prof. Brenner, Bridge Design Fall 2010.
7. We have four different routes to take within civil engineering. We have environmental engineering (which is its own separate major!! Tufts has a combined department for civil and environmental engineers -- shout out to the environmentals!! involves some chemistry, contaminant clean up, etc.), water resources engineering (hydraulics, pipes, drinking water, etc.), geotechnical engineering (soils, sand, clay, roads, foundations of buildings and other structures!), and structural engineering (the above ground portion of bridges and buildings!). And these are just the broader topics! Within even these topics, there are even more specifics, like traffic engineering, for instance. So many choices within one department!
8. Professor Swan is the man. Teaches Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering, the first class the civil engineers have all together.
9. So many classes, so little time! Things to take: AutoCAD for Engineers - Prof. Minardi (elective), Numerical Methods - Prof. Chapra (required, and so useful! learn all sorts of Matlab applications!), Steel Design - Prof. Hines (design elective), Intro to Geotechnical Engineering - Prof. Swan (required, get a feel for what type of civil engineer you want to be!), Structural Analysis - Prof. Sanayei (required, basswood bridge competition!!), Foundations - not sure of the professor, I haven't taken it yet!! (design elective). Among others I haven't taken, but want to? Structural dynamics and earthquake engineering, concrete (a whole class on concrete. AWESOME.), bridge design and rehabilitation... and these are just the ones I'm excited to take since I'm looking into the structural engineering route! :)
10. Engineering at Tufts in general is great because it's a smaller school tucked into a liberal arts setting. I've learned so much from other non-engineering students here, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to meet friends I don't think I would have met otherwise. Want to know more about civil engineering? Check out our department through the Tufts website, or visit our American Society of Civil (and Environmental) Engineers student page!