One of my best decisions in college was joining the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which is easily my favorite Viterbi student organization! ASCE has allowed me to get hands on experiences, work on very unique projects, and make a ton of new friends. It is great to be a part of such a supportive group of civil engineers!
I decided to join ASCE my sophomore year because I wanted to feel more connected to the civil department. Although my freshmen year I did take a few civil classes, I knew that my sophomore year it was important to get to know my classmates since I was talking almost all civil classes!
I think the coolest thing about ASCE is that it is more than just a typical professional organization. Although we definitely focus on career development through resume workshops and industry speakers, we also spend the year working on various design teams! Since sophomore year, I’ve really been involved on the concrete canoe team. Yes you read that right, we make a canoe out of concrete and race it! We spend the whole year planning, designing and constructing our canoe through different sub team meetings which focus on different components of the canoe. I’m personally involved in aesthetics (making the canoe look really pretty), construction (actually pouring and building the canoe), and paddling (racing the canoe at competition!). There is also a structures sub team who makes sure the canoe is strong enough to resist the forces of the paddlers, and the mix design team who tests and decides on a concrete mix.
Easily the highlight of the year for USC ASCE is the Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC), which is the culmination of all our hard work! The conference is an intense competition between 18 different schools hailing from Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and even Hawaii! Not only is this where the concrete canoe competition occurs, but there are many other design teams like steel bridge, environmental, and geowall, along with some more non-engineering events like ultimate frisbee, tug of war, scavenger hunt, and mystery event (just to name a few)! PSWC is always my favorite weekend of the year, because I get to spend time with all my friends in ASCE and see all our hard work be rewarded. The past two years USC got third place overall at PSWC, based on a combined total score of all the various events so we are definitely looking forward to doing even better this year!
Besides being a huge part of concrete canoe, I’ve also been on the executive board my junior and now senior year as one of the social chairs! Being a social chair is really rewarding, since I get to plan a lot of fun events to help build a sense of community. We joke that the key to any social event is the three F’s: food, fun, and friendship! Already I’m looking forward to the ASCE tailgate in October which I’m in charge of planning, along with a beach day, hiking trips, and laser tag!
I’m also really excited to attend the ASCE National Conference again, which will be taking place in New York City. Last year I attended the conference in Panama, which was absolutely incredible (read about that here!) so I’m guessing New York is going to be amazing too!
I truly believe that extracurriculars are what really complete your experience in college, so I would strongly recommended joining a club that is related to your major! Not only will you get out of classroom experience, but it is great to know the people in your classes and even in different grades. And if you are interested in civil or environmental engineering, definitely look into joining ASCE because you won’t regret it!Meet Kelly