Editor’s Note: This is the sixth article in a series that will spotlight student organizations within the LSU College of Engineering.
LSU’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers has a lot on their agenda for the spring semester. Among their to-do’s, the organization hopes to offer “more well- rounded development” of their members through social, professional and mentorship-like programming.
Civil engineering senior Gabrielle Dubroc, who formerly served as meeting coordinator for the organization after transferring from Southeastern Louisiana University, where she had studied veterinary medicine, was elected to be president of ASCE in December.
“This year will definitely be different for me as president, rather than meeting coordinator. I have a better idea and understanding of what members want from the organization,” she said. “We’re working on putting together a resume building workshop that includes mock interviews. We hope to have company representatives volunteer to conduct the interviews with our members.”
They have local and regional companies come and talk to members about the civil engineering projects they are currently working on. Dubroc said these company representatives sometimes try to recruit students for internships or jobs within their respective companies.
Dubroc said while having speakers tell the ASCE members about the field and the projects they are working on is helpful, she also wants members to learn how to further engage.
“One of the main goals of the organization is getting people jobs, getting their foot in the door or fostering these necessary connections for our field,” she said. “I’d like to do more than just have companies come talk and then everyone leaves. I want us to offer not only awareness, but guidance.”
With more than 60 active members, the organization meets as a chapter every two weeks and participates in a number of annual events, including LSU’s Geaux Big Baton Rouge, a large one-day community service event, and ASCE’s Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe competition. They also host trivia nights and social events for members.
“We once did a sort of Jeopardy themed trivia night in place of a regular meeting that went over well. There were prizes and everything. It happened right before exam time, so it just acted as sort of a relief period before tests,” she said with a laugh.
Each year, members of ASCE put together a team of seven for the Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe competition that is hosted by the regional and national branches of the organization. Dubroc said the eligibility for the national competition includes writing a technical paper in conjunction with the submitted design of the canoe or bridge.
In the Steel Bridge section of the competition, students are tasked with building and welding their own bridge and working in a team environment. In the Concrete Canoe competition, students design their own concrete mix that allows the canoe to float on water, which they mold and pour themselves. They also race the competition canoes against participating teams from other schools in the region.
“You get to do something very hands on,” Dubroc said, “versus just reading about it in class.”
Select members also attend an annual conference hosted by the national chapter of ASCE called the Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders. There, she said, the group exchanges ideas with other student chapters about how to better serve its members.
Mentorship and outreach are two things that are high on Dubroc’s priority list as president this semester. She also hopes to strengthen the lines of communication between underclassmen and upperclassmen in the organization.
“It’s not always the easiest thing as an underclassmen to talk to juniors and seniors who have valid advice about textbooks and professors,” she explained. She has proposed launch an email program to connect the two groups.
Dubroc also noticed during the WSCL conference that many other student chapters did some form of outreach to grades K-12, and said it was something the group’s officers are looking to provide to the area soon.
“We’d take a small group of our members visit local middle schools and elementary schools and do something small, like gumdrop bridges, for younger students,” she said. “I really didn’t know anything about engineering until I was well into college, and I think that maybe if I’d had that earlier introduction to it, I would’ve started with civil engineering over veterinary medicine.”
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