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Sarah Courson
Sarah Courson aspires to work for a structural engineering firm that actively prioritizes sustainability while designing buildings. | Image: Courtesy of Sarah Courson

Sarah Courson is in the Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering at Texas A&M University striving toward her bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering. Her love of nature has inspired her to make an impact on the environment by creating eco-friendly structures.

“The architectural engineering classes teach students to integrate passive elements into the design to reduce heating and electric costs while conserving natural resources,” said Courson. “We spend a significant amount of time in buildings, and they consume tons of resources. As someone who enjoys hiking and the outdoors, it is my goal to reduce the environmental footprint of buildings.”

An up-and-coming field of study, Courson delves into the intricacies of architectural engineering and how she plans to apply this knowledge to her future career.

Q: Why did you choose Texas A&M? 

A: I was originally drawn to Texas A&M because of the Aggie traditions and the reputation of the engineering department. As I learned more about the school, I appreciated all the resources available on campus and the atmosphere of the student body. When I was making my college decision, I knew Texas A&M was the place for me.

Q: Why architectural engineering, and what have you learned about this field?

A: I originally chose architectural engineering because I like how the curriculum combines structural engineering with architecture. I have learned to design and analyze structural systems that are integrated with the building as a whole. The classes that I have taken focus on sustainable building design and resiliency. Specifically, I have learned about HVAC design and lighting systems.

Q: The Bachelor of Science in architectural engineering focuses on creating lasting, environmentally-friendly structures. Why is this important to you?

A: I care about protecting the natural environment. Our buildings incorporate environmentally sustainable design strategies into the spaces we occupy. My goal is to make a lasting impact by designing buildings that are sustainable and can endure the test of time. Architectural engineering embodies these goals by teaching us to design efficient building systems.

Q: Are there any faculty members that have been influential throughout your time in architectural engineering?

A: Dr. Morad Atif and Filza Walters have been extremely influential in my education. They have helped me as well as many other students in the search for internships and full-time employment after graduation. These professors take the time to get to know their students on a personal level.

Q: What are your career goals?

A: After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I plan to pursue a master's in structural engineering. After graduation, I want to work for a structural engineering firm. My goal is to work on large-scale projects that incorporate building safety, sustainability and resiliency into the design.

Q: How will you apply your degree to your occupation?

A: I have learned about sustainable design rating systems, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, that have inspired me to incorporate significant sustainability goals into my projects. I hope to work with a team that will proactively incorporate new technologies into the buildings we design.