What do civil engineers do besides build bridges? What’s the difference between civil engineering and construction engineering? What do environmental engineers do? At what point do I have to declare my major? Are there plenty of internships and jobs available in this field?
These are a few of the typical questions our CCEE Student Ambassadors are asked when they give tours of Mann Hall and our department, or when they represent CCEE at Open House recruiting events. Maddie Macmillan, a Senior in environmental engineering, who is serving for the second year as an Ambassador, says she wishes there had been Ambassadors for our department when she was exploring the possibility of attending NC State. Last year, she represented CCEE at the University Open House, and noticed that too often it was parents asking questions instead of students. She tried to make it easier for the high school students to feel comfortable.
“I have learned how to engage the students and coax questions out of them, as opposed to their parents asking questions. Once I offer to answer questions prospective CCEE students might have, I am approached by lots of enthusiastic students who want to learn more about our department.” Maddie Macmillan
Macmillan says she’s seen a common misperception among interested students that the main role of civil engineers is to build bridges. “People are surprised when I tell them all the types of things you can study in our department. I’ve also found that many people have no idea about all the research being conducted in our department.”
Leah Hart, a Junior majoring in construction engineering, is one of our new Ambassadors. Hart says she remembers the stress of applying to college, and how many questions she had. She tries to lessen that stress for prospective students. Hart is passionate about helping potential students learn specifically about the construction engineering program.
“When I was a freshman, I attended an information session hosted by the Civil, Construction, and Environmental Department, and that was the first time I learned about the option of majoring in construction. I came from a family involved in residential construction, and it seemed like a good fit. I’m sure I made the right choice now, and I want to make sure younger engineering students know all their options.” Leah Hart
The CCEE Student Ambassador program is in its second year, and the benefits of having peer-to-peer representation at numerous events throughout the year is clear. But the benefits go both ways. It offers the Ambassadors a chance to build their public speaking skills, interact more with faculty and engineering professionals, and dig deeper into what their chosen career offers. “I think the most valuable thing that I have gained from this ambassador position is getting to know even more about the opportunities of civil engineering beyond academic life,” said Jennifer Badra, a Senior in civil engineering with an emphasis in Structures.
“My job is to inform future students on what this major is about, and the things you can do with it, so it’s amazing how much I end up learning myself, while I’m informing others.” Jennifer Badra
This year there are 7 Ambassadors, and they represent all three of our degrees programs. CCEE Student Ambassadors must be at least a sophomore, and maintain an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students are chosen in part for their ability to speak confidently, and their willingness to be collaborative, flexible and committed to participating in several events per year.
“When incoming high school or first year college students have to make a decision about their major and their career, it can be tough without any insight from someone inside the department. By discussing the curriculum, student clubs, research, and career opportunities with the students, I hope to help make that extremely important decision easier. I also get asked which course, or which major, is the hardest. My typical response is that of course all engineering majors are going to be challenging, but the motivation for choosing a major should come from passion, and then the hard work will be much more rewarding in the end.” Sierra Schupp
“I know that by being a Student Ambassador I will gain a lot of public relations skills, but I’m mostly looking forward to helping incoming students find the same passion for the CCEE department that I did.” Thomas Clunan
“Empowering young women with aspirations of becoming engineers is absolutely one of my favorite parts of being an Ambassador. When I was in high school, I had little idea that engineering was an option for me. I have also loved being able to grow close with the CCEE faculty. This department is made up of passionate professors and researchers, and participating in events with them has led me to learn more about what brought them to where they are now.” Emma Enteado
“I enjoy being a student ambassador because I have loved my time in Civil Engineering at NC State. Being an Ambassador gives me a chance to talk to others about my experiences and help them find their passions.” Hannah Queen