This year is pretty crazy with all the projects I have to do — looking at the next few weeks, I know I’m going to be really busy. I’ve even started scheduling out my days by the hour in order to make sure I get everything done early enough. Hopefully, if I stay focused, I won’t need to stay up super late or pull any all-nighters. The good thing about my projects this semester is that, for the most part, I’ve had a lot of fun working on them and I’m learning so much!

CE 456: Design of Steel Structures

For my steel project, we were each given a structural frame and a certain amount of gravity, live, wind, and earthquake loads that the structure needs to withstand. Our task is to pick the proper steel member for each column, beam, girder, and brace in order to satisfy the maximum stability demand, without being too heavy (which translates into being too expensive in the real world). After that, we need to design the connections, which means sizing bolts and welds so that the structure stays together. My favorite part of the project so far has been analyzing all the forces on our structure using SAP2000, a structural analysis program we learned to use in our structures class last year.

Structural Analysis using SAP 2000

CE 453: Water Quality Management

For my water quality project, I’m working with a group to research natural and constructed wetlands as applies to wastewater treatment. My favorite part of this project is how relevant it is to real-life design. For my internship this summer, I worked on designing an on-site wastewater treatment system for a 1000 person boarding school in Uganda. Because our soil was pretty bad and the water table so high, we had to get really creative with the technologies for water and wastewater treatment, and I actually spent a while researching wetlands as a potential alternative. It has been really interesting researching the technology from a broader perspective, and I’m really excited to use some of my personal experience in our presentation to the class in two weeks.

Testing soil on-site in Kampala, Uganda during my summer internship

CE 334L: Mechanical Behavior of Materials

My 334 project is probably my favorite project of the semester, since we got to design and implement our experiment entirely ourselves. I’m working in a group of three to study the effect of wet and dry cycles on wooden beams. We had to think through everything — from how to soak and dry the sample, to what size samples we should use, to what type of wood we should use. For about two weeks we’ve been going in every day to transfer our samples from the wet to the dry and vice versus. Last week we tested half our samples, and this Friday we will be testing the rest of our beams.

Our first round of samples