Ohio University recently became home to the first student chapter of the Structural Engineers Association of Ohio (SEAoO), a nonprofit professional association for practicing structural engineers in the state of Ohio.
Structural engineering is a branch of civil engineering with extensive applications, including the construction of buildings, bridges and tunnels that require precision and accuracy to ensure the safety of the communities that use them.
As a member organization of the National Council of Structural Engineers Association, SEAoO's main goal is to promote the profession's importance in the safety, health and welfare of the public and now to the campus of Ohio University.
SEAoO President Dick Meyer wrote the following passage in the organization's February newsletter in response to Ohio University starting the first student chapter: "Student chapters will give us the opportunity to communicate with the universities and students regarding the needs and expectations of our profession. Upon graduation we want to help young engineers transition into being well prepared practicing engineers."
The chapter was established by students in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and has almost 40 members. After former graduate student Jibril Shehu developed the initial idea of starting a chapter, graduate students Brad Hoffman and Drew Hatton took over the chapter and began developing bylaws and recruiting members.
Hoffman said community service and enhancing the community's knowledge and experience will be major parts of the chapter's activities.
"We have ideas of what we want to do, like the West Point Bridge Design Contest for high school and middle school students," Hoffman said.
The chapter plans to invite structural engineers on campus to provide perspective and networking opportunities and enter competitions like the PCI Big Beam competition, where a team of students will compete to build a pre-cast concrete beam.
Associate Professor Eric Steinberg, who serves as the chapter's adviser, said the turnout for the chapter has been impressive.
"That's fantastic, especially considering the specialty of the field," Steinberg said. "The great thing about all of this was that it came from the students."