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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas construction, seen firsthand

Provided
SEAoT chapter members visit a construction after attending a meeting with structural engineering professionals.
 
Provided SEAoT chapter members visit a construction after attending a meeting with structural engineering professionals.  

Most engineering students receive their instruction in a classroom — not so for a group of civil engineering students who travel throughout Texas every month to tour construction sites and hear first-hand from professionals about their field.
Civil engineering students with Texas A&M’s Structural Engineers Association of Texas, SEAoT, chapter travel to construction sites and network with professionals across Texas every month. Student officers and members say the experiences gained through the organization help them professionally and expose them to the complex world of structural engineering.
Thursday saw 12 members travel to Houston to network with professionals, said Alejandro Zepeda, civil engineering senior and president of the SEAoT A&M chapter.
“The student chapter at Texas A&M University is affiliated to the Houston/Gulf Coast chapter of SEAoT. Being a member is a great opportunity for students interested in structural engineering to attend monthly meetings hosted by the Houston/Gulf Coast chapter,” Zepeda said. “Another thing we do is to plan a field trip every semester. The purpose of the field trip is to allow students to visit a construction site or an office of consulting engineers and to expose them to the professional world. Typically, the company presents the project they have been working on and afterwards we get to visit the job-site.”
Zepeda said Thursday’s visit was their second this year after a trip to Dallas last month.
“We asked them questions about their work and also about what we should be focusing on to be successful in the field,” Zepeda said. “One of the presenters was actually a geotechnical engineer. From his experience with the industry, he explained how a geotechnical engineer and a structural engineer need to work cooperatively to execute a project successfully.”
Selvakumar Viswanathan, structural engineering masters student and a SEAoT member who attended Thursday’s visit, spoke about the networking opportunities that have opened up to him since joining the student chapter.
“At the end of the meeting, I met with the professionals and obtained their contact information. I am sure developing a network will help me professionally as I start looking for internship or full-time job opportunities,” Viswanathan said.
Ashfaq Syed, structural engineering masters student and vice president of A&M’s SEAoT chapter, said the chapter also holds on-campus meetings attended by various researchers who showcase relevant research and an annual two-day Conference during the fall semester.
“SEAoT members and other structural engineers are welcome to attend these meetings. We also have semester picnics to take a break from the rigor of academics and have fun,” Syed said.
The organization mainly consists of graduate students specializing in structural engineering, but Zepeda said undergraduates are also welcome.

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