Zachry Department of Civil Engineering hosts inaugural Camp BUILD

The Zachry Department of Civil Engineering held its first summer camp, Camp BUILD, July 20-25. The program was developed to provide high-achieving students who demonstrated an interest in civil engineering the opportunity to better understand the opportunities the profession offers for a rewarding career. Thirty high school juniors and seniors from across Texas (and one each from Arkansas and New Mexico) participated in a range of activities that exposed them to the breadth of the civil engineering discipline and student life at Texas A&M.

Camp BUILD 1Activities included tours of the Civil Engineering High Bay Structural and Materials Testing Laboratory, the Reta and Bill Haynes ‘46 Coastal Engineering Laboratory, and various Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) research facilities. They also had hands-on experience designing water purification systems and beams, witnessed a crash test at TTI, and built a bridge.  It was not all work, as their evenings were spent watching movies, going on a scavenger hunt, and playing games.

Part of each day, the campers worked in teams on a wooden bridge design project that culminated in a competition on the last day of camp. With the help of faculty members and current students, the campers built 10 ft. long truss bridges of their own designs to carry 200 lbs. of vertical load and 20 lbs. of lateral load at mid-span. Bridges and teams were evaluated for construction time, cost, accuracy of cost estimate, vertical deflection, lateral deflection, and technical presentation. The team performing best across all categories was awarded the “Golden Truss” trophy for best bridge.

Camp BUILD 2Crystal Faust, camp coordinator from the Civil Engineering Student Services Office, found from camper surveys that “the campers loved the chance to become friends with other students from across Texas who are interested in being Aggies and entering the civil engineering profession. It’s great to see how bringing these students into the professional community can begin this early.” Campers also seemed to enjoy experiencing the breadth of civil engineering. “It was common to hear from campers that they enjoyed seeing the TTI crash test and research facilities and working on building the bridge for the contest. I think our big challenge for next year is to expand our range of experiences even further,” observed Dr. Kelly Brumbelow, Associate Professor and Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Programs, one of the faculty members involved in the camp.

The Zachry Department of Civil Engineering would like to thank the generous donors who made Camp BUILD possible, Fiona Allen and JQ.


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