The Importance Of Structural Engineering

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As an aspiring structural engineer, I need to obtain a Master of Science in Civil or Structural Engineering before I can begin my job search. As a senior in the University of Washington’s (UW) Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) department, I came to understand why UW’s CEE program is one of the most rigorous in the nation with a faculty well-known for their seismic engineering research. With UW as a potential graduate program in mind, I interviewed the aged Dr. Charles Roeder, my current Design of Metal Structures professor, and the ever-in-trouble Travis Thonstad, a PhD student and my Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures teacher assistant (TA). By interviewing Roeder, I soon came to understand why he is so well-recognized in…show more content…
When Roeder reviews applications, grades and GRE scores trumped the personal statement and letter of recommendations. He preferred students with a GPA above 3.3 and GRE scores above the 80% percentile, although he acknowledged engineering students tend to struggle with the verbal or writing sections of the test. Given two students with similar GPA’s and GRE scores, the personal statement and letter of recommendation would be used as a tie-breaker. In the personal statement, faculty search for why the applicant wants to do what they want to do and where his or her research interests lay. Since letters of recommendations tend to be positive, whether or not Roeder knew the recommender and in a positive or negative manner is important. The structural engineering field is small. All these factor into how “fundable” a student is. He would then rank the application from 1 to 5, with 5 being an applicant who was very likely to receive funding—and, as a result, an offer of…show more content…
Engineering is sort of an art. We follow a code book for the design of different systems, but very often, we’re called on to use our experience and intuition when something isn’t covered by the code. Then we apply a factor of safety—just in case. In the time Travis has been at UW, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Steel Construction Manual has changed from a black cover book to a maroon cover book with new topics and procedures such as the Direct Analysis Method. As a structural engineer, it is important to recognize the code isn’t perfect. It is constantly
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