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Dallas Branch CE Club 2017-18 Recap

Dallas Branch CE Club 2017-18 Recap

ASCE Dallas has grown the Civil Engineering Club at Woodrow Wilson High School in east Dallas from a handful of students after school to a full, in-class program that reaches 50-60 juniors and seniors. The Engineering Academy at Woodrow Wilson is sponsored by Project Lead the Way and led by Mr. Brandon Carver. Mr. Carver has been a key component to the success of the program by allowing ASCE Dallas CE Club Champion Jonathan Brower PE to coordinate speakers with his class curriculum. Guest speakers from all corners of the civil engineering industry were brought in to serve as substitute teaches for all three of the Civil Engineering and Architecture Design classes on a bi-weekly basis. Recaps from previous years can be found in the following ASCE Dallas Branch online news articles: Education Update: June 2014, CE Club 2014-2015 Recap, CE Club Summary 2015-2016, and CE Club July 2017 Update.

Members of the UT-Arlington ASCE Student Chapter, Nick Sopko and AJ Czubai, opened up the 2017-2018 CE Club at Woodrow Wilson High School. They explained what it means to be an ASCE Student Chapter, including the steel bridge and concrete canoe competitions that their chapter fields teams for every year. AJ walked the students through the typical class schedule flowchart that it takes to earn a degree in civil engineering from UT-Arlington. 

Julia Dang, Josh McNeill, Travis Pruett, and Brian Morris of Foresite Group led a great group activity that illustrated to the high school students how land development teams must work together to achieve an under-budget, efficient, profitable, and welcoming community. Students were given a site plan with four blank city blocks and a budget for possible buildings and spaces that could fill up these four blocks. Students then had to assume their roles within the development team to decide how the site would be developed.

Ashlyn Kelbly, PE of Kimley-Horn, and a Habitat for Humanity Core Volunteer, helped organize a build day for the CE Club students in south Dallas. Ashlyn and Jonathan Brower, ASCE Dallas Branch Director, volunteered with the CE Club students nailing up foam board and siding all around a four bedroom house under construction. Ashlyn also followed up with an in school visit to the CE Club where she described the inner workings of Habitat for Humanity.

Mark Boyd PhD, PE of LCA Environmental had a great group activity for the students to perform an impromptu water quality risk assessment. The classroom was split up into teams, and each team had to evaluate the purity of ten different water samples with varying levels of contamination. 

Frank Pugsley PE, ASCE Dallas Branch Past-President, spoke to the students about municipal solid waste (MSW). Frank asked students to define this and to think about how their household trash gets from the curb that they drag it out to every week to the landfill. Frank compared the students’ definition of MSW to the state-adopted definition. As a practical and specific example, Frank described the design and construction of landfills. 

Alexis Clark EIT, a structural field engineer with HILTI, brought a unique perspective to the students in that while she has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas, she has the opportunity at HILTI to use her people skills more than a typical engineer and learn unique skills while working out in the field.

Kaitlin Forke and Doug Smith PE of WJE presented a brief overview of concrete including the basic constituents (with specific focus on Portland cement and chemical admixtures), the batching process, and field placement and testing. During the activity, each student mixed Portland cement and water in a small container. After seeing how difficult it was to mix just the cement and water, they added a few drops of super plasticizer and were able to see a drastic improvement in workability. 

Phillip Pesek of L.A. Fuess Partners took the students through the basics of the engineering design process of analysis, design, and iteration. He explained how engineers analyze and predict loads, material properties, and architectural needs to then design structural elements like slabs, beams, columns, foundations, and lateral elements. This was followed up by Steven Blair and Nick Prather, also from L.A. Fuess Partners, giving a brief overview of different lateral force resistance systems, including: braced frames, shear walls, and moment frames. Next, Nick went over the design challenge: building earthquake-resistant structures out of marshmallows, gum drops, and spaghetti sticks. Nick and Steven tested them on shake tables with varying intensity and orientations. 

Fernando Ceballos PE of Pape-Dawson Engineers led an activity where the students were given a commercial land plot with drainage areas marked out on plan. They were given equations to help calculate the total flow capacity of different sized pipes based on diameter, roughness, and length. Each team had to use their civil scales to determine the most cost-effective pipe system to drain the commercial land plot they were given. 

Heidi Fischer of BGE Inc challenged the students with a “build your own floodplain” activity where students were given a blank hill of clay along with tools and materials to make their own unique hillside with varying terrain, topography, and surface textures. The students then poured water down the hillsides to see how the water flow was impacted. 

Julie Jones PE of Nathan D. Maier Consulting Engineers took time to talk about the impact she is making outside of her office job as a volunteer for Engineers Without Borders. She hoped to inspire the students to use their engineering skills to improve the world while also expanding their perspective on the world by traveling to other parts of the world that have much greater needs than those in our country. Julie began by giving the students an overview of the EWB mission, vision, and project types. She then went into deeper detail about a recent project she has been working on in the community of Culli Culli Alto, Bolivia. 

Jonathan Brower showing CE Club students 
structural plans on a construction site. Photo: Brandon Carver

Continuing with the annual tradition, the ASCE Dallas Younger Members hosted the Woodrow Wilson CE Club on an all-day field trip on Monday, May 14th. The day started off on the construction site of Ventana by Buckner, a project on which L.A. Fuess Partners served as the structural engineering consultant. Jonathan Brower and Brian Schnittker of L.A. Fuess walked the students through the job site with the help of a couple of contractors from Whiting-Turner. The group was also joined on this site visit with ASCE President-Elect Robin Kemper PE and ASCE Texas Section Executive Director Lindsay O’Leary PE. 

From there, the students traveled up north to the ASCE Dallas Branch Luncheon. The students were treated just like civil engineering professionals and were given name tags and special reserved seating close to the front of the room with some ASCE Dallas Younger Members. 

Finally, the students traveled to the Hilti Research and Development Facility in Irving to meet up with Alexis Clark of Hilti and the Fort Worth Branch. They were taken on a tour of the testing facilities with Hilti Engineer Frank McMahon who introduced the students to the types and roles of engineers working at Hilti along with some current projects.