SEI Young Professionals Committee
Mission statement: The overarching purpose of the SEI Young Professionals Committee is to be an incubator for the next generation of SEI’s leaders. The committee will encourage and facilitate younger member involvement in the Technical Activities, Business and Professional Activities, Local Activities, and Codes and Standards Activities Divisions of SEI. It will also connect young ambitious academians with young ambitious practitioners to forge career long collaborative relationships. Additionally, it will serve to connect young professionals with established leaders within SEI to provide greater mentorship opportunities. Through articles, presentations and white papers, the committee will bring the concerns of young practitioners and academians to the greater profession. Lastly, the committee will work to ensure that members rotating out of the committee move into leadership roles within SEI.
SEI Young Professional Scholarship to Structures Congress
To assist young structural engineers in their efforts to develop and thrive in their professional careers, the SEI Young Professionals Committee runs a scholarship program to sponsor promising young engineers to participate at Structures Congress. Through the scholarship, funded by the SEI Futures Fund, SEI grants ten recipients financial assistance, including complimentary registration and varying degrees of travel assistance.
2014 was the third year of the program with scholarships awarded to David Keller, Scott Lefton, Nicholas Lutzweiler, Tiffany Mandap, Robert Miller, David Morris, Curtis Ross, Joseph Smith, Eric Stone, and Jennifer Zabik. Several themes emanated throughout the scholarship applications; the strongest message revolved around the importance of involving young engineers in SEI and the structural engineering profession.
Here are a few highlights from three of the 2014 scholarship recipients:
Nicholas Lutzweiler, P.E., S.E., M.ASCE, highlighted the benefits of SEI as a means for mentorship for young professionals. He recognizes that SEI is a network of engineers with a vast background of “different projects, situations, and experiences”. Nicholas believes leveraging SEI networking and mentorship capabilities is key to developing the young professional. Specifically, non-technical training, such as developing effective communication skills, is vital to the success of a young professional. Nicholas reminds us that engineers should constantly strive to better communicate about our profession with non-technical audiences. He reminds us that there was time in all engineers’ lives where we thought a moment was “something you shared with someone special”. SEI plays a critical role in communicating and advocating for the structural engineering profession. This conversation often involves groups that don’t understand moments but who hold enormous influence over the direction of our profession.
Tiffany Mandap, C.Eng, M.ASCE, is a civil engineer who practices in the Philippines performing structural engineering design and project/ construction management. She recognizes that being involved in SEI has made her more aware of the structural engineering profession on a global scale. Further, her participation at Structure Congress has motivated her to strive to improve the lives of people living in the Philippines, where natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiayan have enormous impacts on those in her community. She recognizes that in structural engineering there is little room for technical incompetency or error “because the lives of people using the structure are at stake”.
Jennifer Zabik, P.E., S.E., M.ASCE, has served her local SEI Chapter in many capacities, most recently on the Board of Directors of the SEI East Central Florida Chapter. Jennifer recently established a full service structural engineering firm and serves as President. She believes that SEI can bridge the gap between technical training developed in the school setting and the knowledge required to be a proficient practicing structural engineer. Further highlighted by Jennifer’s career path, SEI can assist smaller structural engineering firms stay current in technical expertise and assimilation into the profession.
While SEI offers a wealth of benefits to the young professional, the relationship is symbiotic and reciprocating. Structural engineering is at a critical cross-road, and focused and visionary leadership from young professionals is vitally needed to address significant challenges. While the challenges appear daunting, SEI is fortunate to have young professionals participating in SEI and Structures Congress who have ideas, experience, and energy to help solve these challenges. These young professionals look forward to continuing their involvement in SEI and sharing their passion for the profession of structural engineering.
Learn more about the SEI Young Professional Scholarship to Structures Congress and apply.