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Civil Engineering is Good for Girls — By Celeste Baine

Civil engineers are changing the world! Civil engineering is one of the oldest and largest branches of engineering. Traditionally, civil engineers planned and designed such things as roads, bridges, large buildings, dams, and airports. However, over time, civil engineering has evolved to encompass much more. Students who want to solve the energy crisis, clean up the environment, or be a part of a world that helps people have access to healthy food, clean water, and a stable infrastructure should seriously consider careers in civil engineering. Civil engineering is closely connected to the environment, both natural and man-made. As our current understanding of technology increases, demand for the diverse talents of civil engineers will increase too.

Research has shown that girls are drawn to careers that help people or the planet. A great way to promote engineering to girls is to make them see how they can make a difference in the world. They will appreciate learning about and doing projects that promote social consciousness.

 When you talk about civil engineering, there are many ways to make it exciting. Civil engineers

  • design “green” buildings that have the capability to power themselves with various forms of sustainable energy.
  • are involved in the construction of anything needed for installing any type of alternative energy: solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, hydropower facilities, and more.
  • design the offshore wind turbine structures that are embedded in the ocean floor that can withstand the weight of ice and the impact of waves and hurricane winds. They may be responsible for mooring systems and running electrical cable underwater.
  • work to ensure that we always have access to clean drinking water.
  • study air pollution and find ways to improve it.
  • design and direct the construction of dams to prevent flooding, improve irrigation, provide a water supply, and generate hydroelectric power.
  • improve ships to ensure that they can withstand the weight of cargo and the impact of waves. Military ships must also be able to withstand battle damage from weapons such as missiles, torpedoes, and underwater mines.

 This is your chance to show students the specifics of how engineering is one of the most helpful careers they can pursue!

 Activity

Because engineering is a way to make a difference in the world, here are a few ideas to get your students involved in infrastructure and disaster-relief projects:

  • Your students can be tsunami (civil) engineers (this also works for hurricanes) as they try to design ways to protect people from the waves and water that crash onshore. Sample ideas include designing vertical evacuation shelters, hovercrafts that can lift like helicopters, and personal jetpacks. What else can they come up with?
  • Your students can work as structural engineers designing tall buildings, bridges, or houses that can withstand earthquake forces.
  • Your students can work as industrial engineers planning how to get food and water to millions of people in a devastated area, or how to transport hurt people efficiently to a medical facility when an area’s roads have been washed out or are blocked by debris.




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