Engineer of the Month Builds the Bridge to a Bright Future

By:        Staci Jones
Date:     June 1, 2017

Joseph Kaufman, civil engineering senior, is the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) Engineer of the Month for June.

Joseph Kaufman

In being the youngest of four brothers, Engineer of the Month Joseph Kaufman had the opportunity to visit various Ohio universities through his siblings. He states that the University of Cincinnati’s compact urban-style atmosphere and cooperative education program (co-op) are what led him to selecting to enroll at the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS).

Engineering runs in Joseph’s family, with all of his brothers being mechanical engineers. He hoped to deter from the mold by focusing on infrastructure through a civil engineering degree.

“Civil engineers design and build the infrastructure that society relies on every day,” said Joseph, “driving a car over a bridge involves a lot of prior design, calculation and construction from hundreds of people. I enjoy designing and building for the community to enjoy.”

Joseph acknowledges that civil engineering has a direct impact on the safety and wellbeing of citizens, he states that though engineering courses may be rather challenging, the discipline is very important for the future. One of the greatest opportunities through CEAS that he is fortunate for is gaining hands-on experience.

“I am very grateful to have earned industry experience through co-op, which has given me a jumpstart on my professional career after graduation,” said Joseph, “college is not cheap, and earning money in between semesters has helped with student debt.”

Joseph’s first co-op was at Dugan and Meyers in Cincinnati. He worked with subcontractors as a project estimator and organized proposals and project plans and specifications. His second co-op rotation was at the same company, working as a project engineer in the waste water division. As a project engineer for the company, he was involved with several wastewater jobsites and played a crucial role in ordering materials, working with various project teams, and organizing documents for wastewater facility construction and maintenance projects.

His third co-op rotation was at Walsh Construction in Louisville, KY. He worked as a project engineer on a tunnel project where he applied skills that he learned from previous co-op rotations in order to efficiently complete the tasks given. Unlike his previous co-op experiences, Joseph had the opportunity to work on a large-scale project.

Joseph’s fourth co-op rotation was international as a CEAS teaching assistant at the Cincinnati/Chongqing Joint Cooperative Institute in Chongqing, China. As one of the college’s leading global partnerships, the Institute’s alliance brought the first mandatory cooperative education program to China. Through this co-op assignment, Joseph was able to travel to Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu as well as other countries in Asia; Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia.

His current co-op is with BWSC in Dayton where he works in the transportation division. There he learns about designing roads, bridges, traffic signal phasing, preliminary studies, writing proposals, and submitting engineering documentation for bidding.

“This co-op has been very rewarding so far and has helped me to make a full circle back to my first co-op responsibilities,” stated Joseph in reference to his current co-op, “I am happy to have learned so much about the civil engineering profession before graduation.”

Beyond his co-op experiences, Joseph regards his involvement in the Construction Estimating Competitions Club to be one of his academic personal best.

“These competitions have given me an in-depth understanding of what goes into construction estimating, while it takes a few days off school, bringing home a first-place trophy makes it all worth it,” said Joseph.

Next year, Joseph looks forward to revamping the American Society of Civil Engineers UC student group. He also enjoys being a CEAS Ambassador, “it is so much fun to showcase CEAS to potential students and being a part of a prestigious group of engineering and applied science students.”

Joseph recommends that fellow students join organizations and get involved. “Getting involved with groups related to your major will help you find a co-op, gain interest in your course studies, and build your network for post-graduation,” explains Joseph.

Upon graduating in 2018, Joseph hopes to stay in the tristate area to work for a civil engineering design company with a transportation or structures focus. On behalf of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, congratulations to Joseph Kaufman on your outstanding achievements thus far and as the June Engineer of the Month.

Select for previous Engineers of the Month.