Civil engineers are responsible for designing and building the infrastructure we use in our daily lives. This includes roads, bridges, buildings, airports, other transportation networks, and water and power systems among other things. In my four years as a civil engineering student at USC I’ve learned about the properties of various building materials and then used those materials to design buildings and run experiments on their applications.
For my major I’ve taken graphic design courses, statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, mechanical behavior of materials, theory of structures, mechanics of deformable bodies, risk analysis, steel design, concrete design, and geotechnical engineering courses. I have also taken two architecture history courses, and my building science studio for the last three years. Currently I’m finishing up my last building science studio course, as well as an introduction to geology and construction engineering. I’ve designed beach front houses, mountain cabins, a farmers market, and bridge out of various building materials and now I’m designing a wooden skyscraper! Coming into USC I wanted to learn how to design buildings – and that’s exactly what I’ve learned in my four years here, plus many other types of civil engineering projects.
Already had my first group project meeting today for my building science class! We’re designing a wooden skyscraper! #ViterbiClass
— Natalie Alvarez (@natralvarez) January 16, 2014
An important part of the design process is understanding building construction. I’ve toured several projects on and around USC’s campus, including one of USC’s latest construction projects, a new building for the Annenberg School at USC:
Touring the new Annenberg building on campus! pic.twitter.com/ffL2kk1RJE
— Natalie Alvarez (@natralvarez) January 29, 2014
My final project in my Mechanical Behavior of Materials course – testing the strength of epoxy bonded concrete beams:
— Natalie Alvarez (@natralvarez) November 13, 2013
The culmination of one semester of Building Science work! Our farmers market in Silver Lake:
Since the civil engineering curriculum is so broad, there are many different paths I can take once I graduate! After studying civil engineering at USC, I can go into structural (design), geotechnical, transportation, water resources, or construction engineering. I plan on interning at a construction firm this summer, which is an industry a lot of my friends are going into once we graduate in May. I also have friends that are going into structural engineering and also working on larger scale infrastructure projects. I even have friends that are going into architectural design.
Feel free to send me any questions you might have about civil engineering!
Until next time,