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Graduate Students Connect with Professional Engineers at Geotechnical Engineering Symposium

The second annual Geotechnical Engineering Symposium was held on April 8, 2016, hosted by the GEO-Institute graduate student organization. The symposium has already grown from its inauguration in 2015, with 30-40 professional engineers from local agencies and consulting firms in attendance. The day was organized around three sessions which included brief presentations from six consulting engineers and four student researchers, a poster session which included work of nine graduate students, all followed by a keynote address.

Dr. Mo Gabr (sixth from left) and graduate students in geotechnical engineering.
Dr. Mo Gabr (sixth from left) and graduate students in geotechnical engineering.

Al Tice, from Amec Foster Wheeler, gave the keynote address, “Moving an Icon – The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Relocation.” “I think students benefit greatly by seeing how practitioners react to their research, and seeing what questions they ask,” Tice remarked.

Derek L. Clyburn, Senior Vice President and North Region Manager for ECS Carolinas, LLP, was impressed with the event. “It’s well organized, well-run, and very informative,” said Clyburn, adding that “the Geotechnical Group has done a great job of prepping their students to give informative presentations that are concise and very impactful.”

Masters student Casey Shanahan, President of the Geo Institute Student Organization led the student organizing committee for the symposium. “We want this event to be mutually beneficial. As students, we can see technical sessions with practicing engineers from the region and have face-to-face interactions them, and likely we’re going to work for them.” Saket Kabra (MCE 2016) who presented his research was interested in meeting potential employers. According to Kabra, “this is a great symposium for networking. I am graduating now and looking for a job.” In particular, Kabra found the interaction with potential employers helped “me understand whether I want to work in the field, or work in the office of a design engineer.”