This past weekend marked the first “New Student CEE Orientation”, hosted by ASCE in conjunction with other CEE student organizations and the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The goal was to give incoming freshmen and transfer students an idea of the opportunities that civil engineering provides both as a student and after graduation. As an organization, we have found that students become more involved in their sophomore and junior years once they begin to take more CEE-oriented classes. We encourage freshmen to participate in any civil or environmental organizations right from the start as it provides students with more exposure to CEE as an industry as well as a network of other like-minded individuals.
To our delight, the event proved to be a success! There was an attendance of approximately 15 new students, which was quite a good turn out considering the small size of the department. The event kicked off with an introduction to the department by the department chair, Dr. Lucio Soibelman. He gave a warm welcome to all of the new students and an interesting overview of the faculty and their research.
Next up was an alumni panel comprised of four current professionals who all studied at USC as undergraduates and some as graduate students as well. There were a good variety of the various disciplines of CEE represented on the panel, with structural design, building enclosure systems, construction, and water services included. The alumni had much insight to share with the participants – both new students and upperclassmen facilitators! They described their experiences as undergraduate students, their involvements, and life working as an industry professional. Notably, every panelist strongly recommended getting involved in student organizations as early as possible, and every panelist eventually pursued a Master’s degree. It was especially valuable hearing about what they specifically do within their disciplines.
The alumni panel was followed by a much appreciated lunch break, during which all of the students, both old and new, mingled while eating a delicious lunch cooked by our very own Doc! After lunch, some of the ASCE upperclassmen gave brief presentations about their respective emphases including overviews of Building Science, Environmental, and Structural. The event concluded with pitches from all of the CEE organizations including ASCE, Chi Epsilon, ITE, EERI, and CMAA.
We really enjoyed putting on such a successful event, and we have lots of ideas for hosting something similar together for next year!