May Engineer of the Month Gets Technical—Geo-style

By:     Shannon Frohme
Date:  May 1, 2016

Chris Douglas, junior civil engineering student, is the Engineer of the Month at the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) for the month of May.

Chris Douglas

Civil engineers are the backbone of our world’s infrastructure—from bridges to skyscrapers, water distribution systems and highways—civil engineers are deeply engaged in the conceptual planning, design, construction and maintenance of private and public projects.

Chris’ natural ability to correlate, build upon and synthesize classroom principles in real-world civil engineering situations sets him apart in this imperative industry. 

Geotechnical engineering is a subset of civil engineering and Chris’ area of focus in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management (CAECM). The primary attention of this specialized civil engineering industry aligns with “the science that explains mechanics of soil and rock and its applications to the development of human kind. It includes, without being limited to, the analysis, design and construction of foundations, slopes, retaining structures, embankments, roadways, tunnels, wharves, landfills and other systems that are made of or are supported by soil or rock.” 1

“Engineering, specifically civil engineering, provides me with the opportunity to positively impact my community through the design of necessary infrastructure like roads, retaining walls, and drainage systems. It is important that my work is fulfilling and that I have a purpose,” explains Chris.

Specific CEAS courses significantly impacted Chris’ decision to pursue the field of geotechnical engineering. He elaborates, “Soil Mechanics and Engineering of Deep Foundations, both geotechnical engineering courses, posed crucial questions that truly challenged me to apply textbook knowledge and apply it to real-world scenarios I will face as a young engineering professional.”

With one additional year added to the traditional four-year undergraduate curriculum, CEAS students gain practical on-the-job experience in their required co-op rotations. Chris has gained patience, tolerance and humility from his co-op experiences. He recalls, “At my current co-op site, DIBAG Industriebau, I work in project management and am learning how to negotiate with engineers and contractors on effectively managing a team that does not always communicate with itself. Patience stems from managing frustrations with company bureaucracy; tolerance originates from learning cultural differences, and humility is a daily reoccurrence as I realize just how much I still have to learn.”

As valedictorian of his high school—Sidney High School of Sidney, Ohio—and the CEAS Engineer of the Month, Chris advises his fellow students to not only dedicate yourself to your studies and work but “to be present where you are and be intentional about what you are doing. 24 hours per day is a common denominator between you and everyone else around you.  If you are studying, study well; when with loved ones, focus on them, and most importantly, when taking time for yourself, do not let others distract you.”

Congratulations to Chris Douglas on your imminent successes thus far in your civil engineering journey and as the CEAS Engineer of the Month.




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