ASCE: Involvement in Transportation Engineering

July 29, 2011

Written by Nathan Kassebaum, Kittelson & Associates, Inc. Intern

ASCE does much to promote civil engineering outside the professional world. To name a few of the ways ASCE promotes the civil engineering profession: it is active in taking engineering to the school classroom, doing community service, hosting networking events, getting involved at the collegiate level, and providing technical journals and societies to the profession. All of these combine to make ASCE a powerhouse for representing civil engineering to the world. And while ASCE does these things to promote the wide variety of careers within civil engineering, on a narrowed level, these events and services also serve to promote the transportation side of the profession.

Community service involvement can take the form of classroom presentations and also global service. In the classroom, ASCE gives hands-on opportunities to students through programs like Zoom into Engineering, which allows students to see and touch civil engineering-related, and sometimes transportation-focused, demos which expose them to the excitement of civil engineering. One hope for this aspect of ASCE’s involvement in the classroom is that as students see the engineering up-close, they will begin to want to pursue a career in that direction. Globally, ASCE’s group known as Engineers without Borders involves professionals and students alike in serving communities in need by offering civil engineering services to places on a global scale. These projects can directly involve transportation-related projects such as road design and improvement.

On the collegiate level, ASCE has student chapters at many universities. Student chapters do a variety of things, like hosting networking events, bringing professionals to speak on their areas of expertise in the industry, and also providing ways for college students to connect and compete through inter-collegiate competitions like the Seismic Design, Steel Bridge, and Concrete Canoe. In my own college experience, I am seeking to be more involved in the ASCE chapter at Purdue, especially in the concrete canoe team. For me, the ASCE group at Purdue has served to be a place to meet other students and make friends who share the same passion for civil engineering as I do. The collegiate chapters do a lot to promote camaraderie between the different fields within civil engineering, so whether one is emphasizing more in structures, geotech, transportation, or anything else, ASCE enables students to grasp to just how broad the scope of civil engineering really is.

ASCE promotes the betterment of the transportation side of the field in several different ways. It has two technical journals: the Journal of Transportation Engineering and the Journal of Urban Planning and Development. These show new areas of research and innovation, helping to link new ideas to others in the profession who may benefit from the research done by others. The result is collaboration on a national (and even sometimes international level) to improve the field of transportation engineering, and, in turn, the lives of countless people throughout the globe who benefit from improved transportation.

Please add to the conversation by including your ASCE experience in the comment section of this article!

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