When I tell people about civil engineering, I usually end up discussing the most obvious things, such as the design of infrastructure.  But this semester, I’ve been lucky enough to expand my view of how civil engineering applies to my life in CE 473: Engineering Law, Finance, and Ethics.  The class is taught not by an engineering professor, but by a lawyer, who comes to USC at night after work to teach our class. Professor Sherman’s decades of experience in engineering law and accounting are unlike those of any teacher I’ve had so far in my time at USC and he has really opened up my eyes to how much more there is to engineering than just the usual mathematical and scientific aspects.

We’ve spent the first third of the semester learning the basics of accounting, such as how to complete balance sheets and compute the best way of funding an engineering project.  I’ve also learned a lot about investments and stocks, something that I had never quite understood.  As an engineering student, I had never expected to be given the opportunity to learn about these aspects of life within Viterbi, but I’m so thankful that I am! Classes like this make me feel much more well-rounded as a person, and I love that I can understand engineering but also keep up with my roommates when they discuss their business and accounting classes.

The next two thirds of the semester are going to focus on engineering laws and the ethics behind designing and investing in engineering projects. I know I still have a lot to learn, and I’m looking forward to truly understanding how much work goes into an engineering project beyond the initial design. And I come from a family of lawyers, so I’m excited to finally be able to take part in their discussions about work! I love that this class teaches me new things about engineering, while also expanding past the physical design aspects of most of my civil engineering classes so far.  Plus, being able to discuss stocks, bonds, laws, and ethics makes me feel much more ready to take on the real world.  I can’t wait to continue with the rest of an amazing semester of new lessons and experiences!

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Civil and Environmental Engineering, Class of 2016, Learn more on her profile here!