Senior Year?!?

September 5, 2014 — Leave a comment

This week marks the beginning of my senior year, which is completely unbelievable. As I passed all of the freshman moving in all I could think about was me three years ago. I came to Boston so excited to meet everyone and start the amazing journey that is college, and the fact that I am almost done at Wentworth is both sad and exciting. This just means that I am determined to make the most of my senior year!

Because I am a senior, my fall semester is my final Co-op experience. I am working for a geotechnical and environmental engineering company in Charlestown and love it so far! Though this is my first week, I have been through a lot of training and have even done some lab work! We did a sieve test on soil samples for one of the projects my company was working on, so I had the opportunity to take what I learned in class and work on it in a real life setting. Everyone that I speak to about the coop opportunity that Wentworth provides raves about how great it is! I picked a geotechnical company because I believe I would like to pursue a masters degree in this field, and this is the best way to find out if I like it or not before I commit to a year long process and the expenses of graduate school.

Other than work, I am excited for the new school year to start. We have great things planned for the Society of Women Engineers and American Society of Civil Engineers this year! Our executive board meetings start next week, and the general meetings the week after, so it will be nice to see the returners and new faces!!

I had the honor last night of attending Wentworth’s Awards Ceremony. There 118 students were honored for their hard work in academics, coop, community service, and much more! It is truly amazing to see all of the amazing contributors there are on campus, though this was just a small representation of the people who do amazing things here at Wentworth! Congratulations to all who recieved awards last night and who were nominated!
Our American Society of Civil Engineers group had the honor of being awarded the Civic Engagement award. This award is to recognize a student or group of students who gives back to their community. I featured some of the work we have done in previous blogs, but we have worked on fixing a garden for the Tobin Community Center and built a handicap accessable ramp for the Health Movement office on Mission Hill. Working on these was a great opportunity, and I am so glad we had the chance to get involved with the community and give back! ASCE also works with the Boston Society of Civil Engineers to volunteer for the Future City and Model Bridge Competitions, two opportunities for middle and high schoolers to learn more about Civil Engineering. I really love doing all of this stuff! I also had the honor to be awarded the Outstanding Junior Leadership Award, which was a huge honor. Last night was really great, and it is nice to see what everyone is involved in to make Wentworth the best school it can be!

Where Does the Time Go?!

February 14, 2014 — Leave a comment

I honestly cannot believe that it is mid-February already! I have been on co-op for 6 weeks today already at Parsons Brinckerhoff and I could not be happier! It is a lot different than my last job… before I was working with a general contractor where is now I am working with mostly consulting work and some design. They are very different, but both of these experiences have helped me to decide that I would like to pursue a masters in geotechnical engineering! For those of you who are not familiar with this term, it is a specialty of civil engineering that prodominently deals with soils and rocks and how they interact with construction projects. Obviously there is a lot more that goes into it, but I am currently working in the hydro power division where we do some geotechnical work. I am learning a lot about dams and the processes behind design and consulting, which will be very helpful to me in the future and is interesting right now!

Another exciting thing going on right now is the concrete canoe! Part of the reason why this semester has flown by was because we have been preparing to pour the concrete, or place it really. We had to prepare the mold and finalize the mix design before we could pour, and make sure there were enough of each material, but we finally were done last weekend for our pour day! It was very stressful, especially being captain and having everything fall on me, but it was so worth it to see the final product! After four hours, about 20 people, and 32 3 gallon batches of concrete we were done! Now we just have to water it twice a day over the next month so that it will stay hydrated, allowing it to get stronger and resist cracking!

Society of Women Engineers is a club on campus geared towards females in engineering, although anyone can join, where we mostly work on career development and bonding of those on campus. Because there is a small percentage of the student population here at Wentworth that are females, it is important to gather together and to assure those who may be new to the school that there are females that they can become friends with in their classes while letting them know that this school is very welcome to all types of students. A great way to do this is to have an alum come in and share their experiences to the girls. We were lucky enough to have Ann Marie, a graduate of Architectural Engineering and the Construction Management program, speak with us about her experience as a student at Wentworth and as a graduate of this school.

It was really great being able to hear about her experiences. She was able to let us know that the engineering world will also have very few females, but that should not stop you from achieving your best. We were informed of how she went through getting her job and some setbacks, but that these changes will always help you in your future endeavors. She brought a networking activity to help show us who we have in our circles of people we know, and how we can work on expanding them through hard work and our upcoming experiences, such as coops and when we graduate. It was really nice to hear that it will always be growing and changing, but that is okay. Ann Marie also talked about the topic of mentors and sponsors, letting us know the difference of each and what they can really do for you. We were able to hear about how her sponsor positively effected her career and helped get her to where she is. Ann Marie was also able to assure us that these people may change as your progress and grow, and that is okay too.

I personally had a mentor my freshman year, the president of SWE at the time, who really helped me through my first year. Obviously I eventually followed in her footsteps and am now president of SWE, but we have lost touch since then. People grow apart because of distance and changes in their lives, but always be thankful to those who have been in your life and helped you. In order to succeed you will need some help, be it a friend, an upperclassman, or even a professor, to help you guide you through and teach you important lessons. I will always be grateful to her for her help in guiding me to be the best I could be and strive for more, especially because she was a great role model for me. Be sure to appreciate it and take what they have to say into consideration, they are helping create the person they know you can be.

Grace Tour

November 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

I am the concrete canoe captain here at Wentworth, so I deal a lot with lightweight concrete mix designs, fibers, and all sorts of other things related to concrete. It is very difficult… There are so many different admixtures, aggregates and supplemental cementitous materials that you can use to make your concrete stronger, lighter, have a less slump, etc. Because we have been asking a lot of questions and the president has been helping me a lot with the mix designs the lab technician, Professor Lee, took some of the canoe members and other civil engineering students to tour W. R. Grace and see what a research facility is like!

So a little background on concrete: Concrete is produced by mixing cement, water, admixtures, and aggregates. The cement reacts with water to form C-S-H (Calcium Silicate Hydrate) which produces the strength of the concrete. Concrete is only really strong in compression and does not have as great of strength in tension. That is why you see concrete used for bridge decks and footings but never in beams or things that will stretch. However, you can add reinforcement to create a larger tensile strength, such as rebar or in our case fiber reinforcement mesh. There is a whole lot more that goes into concrete as well, but the major thing is that concrete is when it is hydrated, so what you see all over, while cement is what you mix with water, so it is a powder! I still say the wrong thing sometimes and get yelled at for it!

Grace is one of the largest research facilities of its kind, so it was really neat to be able to go into the labs and see how they do experiments. They are responsible for developing Super plasticizer, which retards the setting of the concrete so you can prolong the placement. That was a huge discovery at the time!! Now they are working on finding new ways to make concrete greener and lighter and so many other things. This research is beneficial to the buyers of the concrete, the producers, and the general population because they are trying to reduce the cost all while reducing the amount of Carbon Dioxide that is released during the process of making klinker, a material in cement, and using recycled materials, such as fly ash. Fly ash actually is a byproduct of coal burning and adds a great deal of strength to the mix! So we had the opportunity to see where they do mixing and testing and analysis of why concrete has failed. Professor Lee actually worked at Grace for many years before coming to Wentworth and has based our lab off of theirs. It was a really neat experience and I had the opportunity to meet some really great people that will be able to help me with creating a really great concrete canoe!

WE13

November 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

This past week has been crazy! Between exams, group, and interviews I have been going non stop but now I finally have time to breathe. With the group projects under way and offer letters for coops, this next week is looking up! I can now put my suit away for a couple months and finish this semester strong before starting work in January!

One of the reasons why this past week was a little crazy is because I was gone for four days the week before. Society of Women Engineers had their national conference in Baltimore, Maryland this year and we were able to take 11 girls (including our faculty advisor) and two guys with us! It was sure a lot of people to have in a group to travel and eat with, but I am so glad we had all of them come. I was able to get to know a lot of the members that I never really got a chance to talk to much and everyone bonded! There was no drama (thank goodness!) just everyone getting along and wanting to learn more about how to increase their potential as a student and in their future endeavors.

One really great thing was that many of the girls were able to get interviews on site, including myself! A major part of the conference is a large career fair with over 200 companies representing themselves there, and many of them are looking for both coops and full time positions. There are a lot of big name companies (such as Turner Construction and Disney) that recruit at these career fairs because they know that everyone who attends is dedicated to their career. Some of the companies will set up 20 minute interviews and even hire people on the spot! It is a little overwhelming at first, but that is just one option for those who attend the conference. There are sessions on career and personal development, a spark center where you can make luggage tags and even get a free manicure, or a SWE boutique where you can buy SWE related merchandise that sections sell. Companies will also hold hospitality suites so you can get to know their company a little better, and they have tons of keynote meals where you can network with a ton of people. It was really a great experience, and I know that everyone who attended this year thought it was really worth it! Teachers and coop employers understand how great of an opportunity this is as well and are willing to work with you about missing class or work.

While we were in Baltimore we also were able to explore the city. Even though we never got any crab cakes or Philly cheesesteaks(I really really miss them!) we were able to eat at a Hawaiian grill and go around the Inner Harbor. Some of the members went to the aquarium while myself and two others went shopping and walking around the harbor. Though it was a little cold, it was really beautiful and great to see the city! Even though I am from Pennsylvania and my grandmother grew up half an hour north of the city I had never been, so now I can say I have been to Baltimore! Next year the conference is in Los Angeles, which I think everyone is really excited about! Our faculty advisor is planning on trying to take up to 21 students, including a larger group of guys, so hopefully we are able to do that! It was a great experience and I would like as many people as possible to be able to experience it!

Odyssey Cruise

October 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

This week seemed to be everyone’s birthday! My mom, two of my best friends, and the dean all celebrated their birthday this week, so it was exciting to be able to be a part of the festivities.

Friday night I went on a 5 star cruise with 20 of my friends to celebrate my little (from the Honors Frat on campus) turning 21. It was a nice way to celebrate and have everyone attend. The boat took us around the Boston Harbor for three hours and we had a 3 course meal that was amazing! Even though it was really cold out, we were still able to look out at the Boston skyline from the water and enjoy a new view on the city we live in. This was a formal affair, so we all got dressed up and took tons of pictures. It was fun to dress up in nice dresses and wear heels! After we were finished eating and had enough of the cold we all had a great time on the dance floor, and even got other groups to come dance with us. There were a lot of different groups there to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, so it was nice to be able to celebrate together. It was really a great time and a unique experience!

 cruise 1

Saturday was another birthday celebration for my best friend and her twin. We went to Doyle’s Café in Jamaica Plain and I have to say that was one of the best clam chowders I have ever had! It was a fun meal with many of my friends, and really great food. A lot of people got burgers there too, and they said that they were amazing. As you can tell, my friends and I are obsessed with food so we are always trying to find new places to try. It was pretty easy to get to by taking the orange line, so I am definitely planning on going again. Overall, this was a great weekend! I am so happy that I had a chance to celebrate with my friends and experience new things!

Last weekend our American Society of Civil Engineers chapter teamed up with the Community for Learning and Partnership to do some community service work at the Tobin Commtobingarden2unity Center on Mission Hill. Now that I am living off campus this is my community, so it felt really good to be able to give back! Behind the Community Center is a garden area and recreational area that needed a lot of sprucing up! One of our professors, Francis Hopcroft, had us take on the task of building a Shed for this garden. It was a design-build project, but went fairly smoothly and we were able to finish about ninty percent in a 8 hour day! While we were working on framing and shingling the shed other Wentworth students worked on making new garden beds that would allow easier access to the plants for those with disabilities and the elderly, and cleaned up the brush to let the light shine through into the recreational area! By the end of this day we had made a huge difference, and it was a great bonding experience for the club! I had the chance to meet some freshman and sophomore students that just recently joined our group and learn more about them. I would say that this was a very successful day! And once there are tools hanging in the shed it should be a great thing to visit and see what my hard work helped create!

Tobin2

Tobin1

WIT Activities Fair

September 14, 2013 — Leave a comment

This week was the beginning of everything! The weekly quizzes for Geology and Soil Mechanics, The weekly homework’s for all of my classes(and some that fill up 7 pages worth of engineering paper), and my weekly meetings. Since this was the preliminary meeting for all of our clubs, it focused a lot on recruitment and our goals for the year. And since I am the new president of SWE (Society of Women Engineers) I had the opportunity to run my first meeting ever! I am not going to lie… I was a little nervous at first. But we had a great turn out for our first meeting, over 20 girls (and one guy because everyone is welcome to join)! And we have already started talking about some exciting goals for this year, including a bake sale next Wednesday (which one of our girls was telling me about this brownie recipe that she found that I cannot wait to try!!!), Women at Wentworth Dinner at the end of the month, and the possibility of bonding at the Mission Hill Road Race on October 5th! I am really excited about how things are going so far, and I know that they are just going to keep getting better. SWE also had a table at the annual Activities Fair on the quad. If you are asking yourself what that is… it’s basically where clubs can sign up to showcase what they do and try to recruited members and spread the word of their club to the student body. We had 44 people ask to be on our email list, which is amazing! I am very happy that so many people showed interest and hope that many of them come to the meetings.

We also had our first official meeting for ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers). Some of us went to classrooms to talk about our club and what we do this past Monday and we had 14 new members show up. A lot of our members graduated last year so we have to make sure to step it up with recruitment this year! Next week we are going to start making mixes for our concrete canoe and have the new members actually make them, and the following week we will be putting together one of the past years steel bridges. I hope that helps spark interest in those that are thinking about joining these teams!

Since you have to go through the rush process of PSP, our first general body meeting was all of those who are already in the club, though for many this was the first meeting where they were actually a brother! We went over some of the activities we are hoping to do, such as a hangout day this Saturday and a walk for a local church. PSP is very involved with our community and we try to stay as active as we can with the surrounding area and help with local organizations that may need help. It is also a great way to meet people; many of my friends are also my brothers so it is really great to build these friendships more through community service! We hold informational meetings for those students who may be interested in rushing this year, and a lot of people showed up. The fall rush is usually smaller than the spring group, but there were probably around 15 interested people there on Tuesday, and that is only the first meeting.

I think that this year is going to be a busy but great year! As an important part of two of the clubs, I really hope that many people want to join and become loyal members. I love working with these groups to better myself and both the Wentworth and Boston community! It is so rewarding being able to row a canoe that you made from concrete or see people having a blast at an event you helped plan. My word of advice for every student is to get involved… you meet so many amazing people and have such great opportunities that you would miss out on if all you do is homework and watch TV. This is such a huge part of my life and it is amazing to pass that on to others.

 

Start of Junior Year

September 9, 2013 — 1 Comment

The first week of classes went by really fast, especially considering I was without internet for the majority of the time(meaning no Netflix). I moved into an off campus apartment this year, and I did not realize how long it takes internet and cable to get installed! But it may be a good thing that I went cold turkey on the Netflix because this semester is going to be crazy busy! I was able to focus on my homework and club stuff without any temptations to be distracted. I already have homework for every class and two quizzes… it feels good to be back at it!

The first event that I was a part of this year was the Dire States Tour lecture by Dan McNichol. Dr. McNichol has an honorary doctorate from Wentworth and is a published writer, his works including The Roads That Built America and The Big Dig. Last Wednesday he spoke at Wentworth about his new adventure: a drive across America in a 1949 Hudson in order to spread the word about the conditions of America’s infrastructure and how important and outdated it is becoming. We were able to interact with him in an overview of Boston’s big dig and his work on that project, which was extremely interesting to hear. Dr. McNichol actually worked with a Wentworth Civil Engineering Professor, James Lambrechts, on this project some. It was interesting to hear more information on a project that one of my professors participated in and how important he was to the process, especially on such a historical project! After describing how the big dig revolutionized Boston’s infrastructure and way of life, he went on to describe how the infrastructure is in the United States compared to China. Those of us who stuck around had a chance to see the car that he will be driving around in and were able to sit in it! It is very comfortable, almost like sitting on a couch, but I am not sure I would like to drive around in a car that is over 60 years old!

Dr. McNichol’s plan is to travel across the United States and talk to schools like Wentworth about the importance of the infrastructure in the United States today, and how the government should focus on restoring bridges, dams, highways, etc. that may not be up to the potential that is needed to be safe and efficient. His travels should take him until April, and he has indicated that he would like to come back at this time to share his experience with us. This was a really great lecture, and over 50 students, alumni, and professors were in attendance. I would say that makes this event a success! I know I enjoyed it a lot and so did many of my friends that attended as well, so I very thankful to have had this opportunity!