As you read this article, it was just a few weeks ago that we wrapped up the largest and best ASCE Student Symposium that has ever taken place! Students from schools across New Mexico, Oklahoma, Mexico, and Texas competed in a variety of events and learned some valuable skills that will pay off in long, successful careers in civil engineering. There is always a bit of risk in writing an article about an event that has not been completed yet will be published after the said event has concluded, but given the great effort by the University of Houston ASCE Student Chapter, the ASCE Houston Branch, and ASCE Texas Section volunteers, along with the enthusiastic students within Region 6, I feel pretty confident about my choice of words. Thank you to the students and professionals who made this event a wonderful success!
I would like to take the remainder of this article to share some words of advice on the benefit of ASCE to the soon-to-be civil engineering graduates as they complete their studies and embark on their professional career.
- ASCE has instituted an automatic transition of all graduating student members to ASCE associate members to make it as easy as possible to continue your involvement in ASCE after graduation.
- If you are starting your career in a smaller office/department as I did (there were only three geotechnical engineers in my department, including myself), involvement in ASCE provides you the opportunity to practice your leadership skills as you participate and lead committees and take on officer positions in your local ASCE Branch or Section that may not be readily available to you within your company.
- If you are starting your career in a larger office/department, involvement in ASCE gives you the opportunity to stand out among a crowd of your peers and demonstrate to yourself and your employer that you are serious about growing your career in a meaningful way. As the Department Manager overseeing 20 geotechnical engineers, those engineers that are active in professional societies, such as ASCE, are more likely to receive promotions and be considered for leadership positions as they advance in their careers. They show their willingness to invest in themselves and the profession they serve.
- Being successful in winning the opportunity to work on larger, more complex civil engineering projects means that you are skilled at joining multiple teams consisting of a variety of engineering disciplines in pursuit of these projects. Active participation in ASCE early in your career means that you have the opportunity to form relationships with civil engineers who are or may become key decision-makers that determine who gets to join these teams. I would much rather have someone I know and trust join me in a teaming pursuit than have a stranger be a part of this effort.
- When you interview with employers, recognize that you are also interviewing them. A great question to ask them is how would they support your desire to continue your involvement in ASCE. Be willing to share what participation in an ASCE Student Chapter meant to you and how you would like to continue that in your professional career. Their answer will provide valuable insight into their perspective on growing and developing their staff. In addition, you will signal to them that you want to take an active role in having a successful career.
- Knowing that newly hired graduating engineers have a significant number of activities on their plate as they start their new jobs from finding an apartment, setting up utilities, onboarding and learning the job they have been hired for, etc., I would like to help make getting involved in your local ASCE Branch just a bit easier for you. All willing graduating student members please provide your name, email address (preferably not your school email address), and the city you’ll be moving to for your new job to your ASCE Student Chapter. ASCE Student Chapters please compile the list and send it to the ASCE Texas Section office ([email protected]). The ASCE Texas Section office will then forward those names to the appropriate ASCE Branches so that the Branches can then reach out to you and invite you to one of the many upcoming ASCE activities in your area.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as your President this year!
Patrick M. Beecher PE, M.ASCE
ASCE Texas Section President 2021-2022