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Moving Towards Global Competency for Engineering Students Through Travel and Classroom Lectures

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

International Division Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.952.1 - 25.952.12



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Paper Authors


Nick M. Safai Salt Lake Community College

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Nick Safai is the Chair of Engineering Department (which consists of nine engineering programs Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Material Science, Environmental, Manufacturing, Bioengineering. and Computer Engineering). He is tenured Full Professor. He received from Princeton University his Ph.D. in engineering (multidisciplinary), also from Princeton University: M.S. in aerospace, M.S. in mechanical, M.S.E. in civil engineering, and M.S.E. in reservoir engineering/water resources, as well as a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State. Prior to joining the academics, Safai worked in industry, where he served as Director of the Reservoir Engineering Division at Chevron Oil Corporation in California. He has taught both at the graduate and undergraduate levels in engineering science. He has performed research projects for the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the oil industry. He has authored more 85 technical publications in technical journals, government and industry project reports, DOE, DOD, and NSF. Safai’s research areas of interest have been coupling of solid mechanics and fluid flow, 3-D multiphase flow in an unsaturated/saturated deforming porous medium, wave propagation and stress concentration, and filamentary composite materials. Safai is a member of several international and national Professional Engineering Organizations such as American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He has served in various capacities in these societies. He has served as Chair for ASEE Annual Conference Programs for the International Division, a Session Chair, Reviewer, and as the Division’s Vice Chair since 1991. Safai is responsible for bringing to SLCC engineering professional societies (ASME in 1992, ASCE in 2001, and ASEE in 1991). Safai is the ASCE chapter president for SLCC. He has organized several other national and international student societies and activities. Christopher Thompson is presently attending Salt Lake Community College, majoring in civil engineering. Thompson is the Student President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chapter at Salt Lake Community College working closely with Safai (the ASCE chapter Advisor) on several engineering and service learning projects. Thompson has been the recipient of several awards and scholarships, including the NCSAS from NASA, which was awarded to him in Aug. 2011. His student president leadership in ASCE has brought several awards to the ASCE chapter at Salt Lake Community College.

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Christopher F. Thompson S.M.ASCE Salt Lake Community College Orcid 16x16

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Christopher F. Thompson been a student at Salt Lake Community College, in Salt Lake City, Utah, since the Fall of 2009. His current course of study encompasses a dual major: chemical engineering and civil/environmental engineering. While attending SLCC, he has put forth his best effort to become involved in extracurricular activities. He isthe Student President for the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter at SLCC, as well as the Recording Secretary for Phi Theta Kappa. He looks forward to graduating with an A.S. of general studies in the Spring of 2012 followed by an A.P.E. (associate's of pre-engineering) of chemical/civil/environmental engineering in the fall of 2013. He has chosen civil/ environmental engineering as his academic program and field of study, as a way to grow within my already existing career field. For the past six years, he has worked in the civil engineering profession as a Designer/Draftsman. He has worked closely with civil, environmental, and structural engineers on a daily basis; for him, becoming a Civil Engineer was his next logical career progression. Over the past few years, he has come to realize that he is limiting his potential by remaining a simple Draftsman. He has slowly, over time, developed his mind to work in a critical thinking environment, much like a Civil Engineer must do every day. He has become familiar with civil engineering, and engineering in general, nomenclature. He brings to the table a fresh mind and eagerness to succeed. He truly believes that he has an advantage over similar civil engineering students that are in his same educational position. In today's society, it is his opinion that experience can overrule education. He has every intention to reach a point where my education will meet his experience, creating a complete and well-rounded Professional Engineer. In addition to civil/environmental engineering, he listed his educational minor as chemical engineering. At Salt Lake Community College, these two engineering majors share very similar program requirements during the first two years of study. He has elected to achieve a double major in order to optimize his educational experience. Chemical engineering is a field of study that, when coupled with civil/environmental engineering, leads into his ultimate goal of becoming a doctor of philosophy in nuclear engineering. civil/environmental engineering will show him how to design and construct an appropriate nuclear facility, while chemical engineering will help him understand the actual nuclear science process.

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Exposure to Global Engineering by Research and Travel AbstractStructural changes in the Panama Canal will influence ship design, internationallyexported products, world commerce, and global capability to become moreefficient. Engineering students become more familiar with the global limits oftrans-oceanic tonnage capacities and payload size through research and directexperience. As ship size increases in length and tonnage capacity, superstructureproducts will diversify and increase in availability. Domestic manufacturing oftowers, propellers, and other monolithic works may be outsourced to best nicheworldwide producers. National inadequacies for infrastructure development maybe addressed in part by transoceanic canal expansion. This paper covers theexperience and methods of a first year civil engineering cohort in understandingtheoretically and substantively the broadening opportunities through study anddirect exposure to the Panama Canal. Learner outcomes are deepened bymeaningful observation of professionals at work in expansion of the PanamaCanal. Paradigm shifting impressions on potential and possible careerachievements are part of expected learner outcomes as well as an emphasis onglobal awareness and interdependence. Institutional outcomes are the preserving offirst year students via a Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation(SMART) style event. A team design and build project is included in thecurriculum to augment traditional modalities of learning through building andcollaboration. Introduction and overview of core engineering disciplines withpowerful examples of modern works are prolific. Design theory will be introducedand monitored throughout project work to improve working team environments.Confidence and desire to continue in the program is facilitated by successful taskcompletion by the team projects. Vision of career capstone projects is increased bya trip by ship crossing through the Panama Canal via an ocean liner. Scalarity ofthe Panama Canal will be impressed vis-à-vis first hand witnessing of the civilwork. Sacrifice and hard work on the part of the students will grow confidence andassuredness in a future career as an engineer.

Safai, N. M., & Thompson, C. F. (2012, June), Moving Towards Global Competency for Engineering Students Through Travel and Classroom Lectures Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21709

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