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Civil Engineering Introduction To Freshman Engineers

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Case Studies and Engineering Education Around the Globe / International Poster Session

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Page Count


Page Numbers

14.327.1 - 14.327.9



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Paper Authors

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Fazil Najafi University of Florida


Kathryn Jenner University of Florida

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Kathryn Jenner is a first year Master's student focusing on structural engineering at the University of Florida. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida in May 2008.

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Sarah Jayasekaran University of Florida

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Civil Engineering Introduction to Freshman Engineers Abstract “Introduction to Engineering” (EGN-1002) is a course offered to freshman students at the University of Florida. The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the curriculum of eleven different departments within the College of Engineering and is focused on aiding students in the process of making an informed decision for their futures. This paper is focused on only the Civil and Coastal Engineering section of the course. The civil engineering portion is a three-hour class that includes a civil engineering concept and curriculum lecture, elementary lab work, and lab demonstrations. The first part of the class is a lecture introducing students to the purpose of civil engineers in society and general civil engineering principles and concepts. The lab portion involves teams of four or five students from different engineering disciplines building a truss bridge from basic materials. The teams design toward given criteria such as cost, efficiency, and strength. Each team is provided with the same quality of materials, and all materials are assigned a certain cost based on their properties. Teams are given a time limit of 30 minutes to complete the task of building the truss bridge. Each team’s truss bridge is loaded with weight, and the team with the highest weight to cost score wins. The third part of this session includes a demonstration of hurricane forces on hypothetical debris with an air pressure cannon as well as a demonstration of the compressive strength of a concrete cylinder through a compressive strength test. This exercise introduces students to civil engineering concepts and creates a better understanding of compressive strength, stress, strain, neutral axis, tension, and compression. The students also gain an understanding of how engineering theory and concepts can be applied to real world projects and that engineering is the application of science to solve problems. Throughout the presentations, the students also learn about the American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter and its activities including canoe building, steel bridge building and technical paper writing for local and national competitions.


Introduction to Engineering, EGN 1002, is a one-credit, freshman engineering course geared to eliciting an understanding of the various departments of engineering offered within the College of Engineering. This course was developed under a National Science Foundation Grant by Hoit1. The departments that are covered in this course include Aerospace, Agricultural and Biological, Chemical, Civil and Coastal, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, Industrial and Systems, Materials Science, Mechanical, and Nuclear and Radiological. The purpose of this course is to create an understanding of each department among freshman engineers2. This one-credit course requires the student to visit each department for three hours, switching departments each week. Each department has instituted their own itinerary for the three hours, although all are sure to include an introduction to their form of engineering and then allowing the student to participate in a hands-on project demonstrating the basic engineering principles associated with each department3.The primary focus is for the student to choose a department which matches their interests and talents best.

Najafi, F., & Jenner, K., & Jayasekaran, S. (2009, June), Civil Engineering Introduction To Freshman Engineers Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4775

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