Smyrna woman to be among 1st SPSU civil engineering graduates
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
May 12, 2012 12:43 AM | 4280 views | 1 1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jessica Nash, 22, stands outside Southern Polytechnic State University’s engineering building. She will be one of the first eight students and the only female to receive a civil engineering degree from the school today. Students from the School of Architecture and Construction Management, School of Computing and Software Engineering, and School of Engineering will all graduate with Nash at 2 p.m.<br>Staff/Lindsay Fendt
Jessica Nash, 22, stands outside Southern Polytechnic State University’s engineering building. She will be one of the first eight students and the only female to receive a civil engineering degree from the school today. Students from the School of Architecture and Construction Management, School of Computing and Software Engineering, and School of Engineering will all graduate with Nash at 2 p.m.
Staff/Lindsay Fendt
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MARIETTA — Jessica Nash said that while she’s happy to receive one of the first civil engineering degrees from Southern Polytechnic State University today, it wasn’t her first choice.

“I wanted to do architecture — at least I thought I did — but I’m not very artsy, so civil was a lot more structured, and I still got the whole design process,” said the Woodstock native who now lives in Smyrna.

Nash, 22, and seven other students will be the first to graduate from SPSU’s civil engineering program, which started in 2009. She will be the only woman.

Nash, who will be receiving a Bachelor of Science, plans to continue working at Structor Group in Atlanta near Cumberland Mall, where she started an internship in March.

She said the civil engineering program was difficult, but she’s happy she stuck with it.

“I have a lot of options,” she said. “With engineering, you can go from engineering to construction, while it’s hard to go from construction to engineering.”

She said her degree will allow her to see a project grow from start to finish.

“I like being able to drive by and see that I helped create something,” Nash said. “You get to see how things progress, and once it’s done, it’s always there.”

You see civil engineers’ work every day, she said.

“With pretty much any structure, a civil engineer has a hand in it … the design of buildings and the foundation, there is soil, like geo-technical work, water plants or highways, roads, bridges.”

While Nash is the first and only woman graduating this year, she isn’t the only one in the program.

“I’ve had to work at it a lot harder than a lot of the guys, because I think it comes more naturally to them,” she said.

One of her professors, Dr. Wasim Barham, who was brought on shortly before the program started, said he’s noticed that his female students tend to work harder than their male counterparts.

“The girls … are very serious about civil engineering, and even sometimes better than their peers,” said Barham, who teaches several civil and structural engineering courses.

Barham said he and his colleagues are trying to recruit more women into the fields of engineering, math and science by conducting summer camps and talking to high school students about the programs.

Barham said Nash was a great student.

“I’m very proud of her,” he said. “She’s very smart, very hardworking and deserves to be a part of the first class of civil engineering graduates.”

He said he hopes that the program will continue to grow.

“Now we have about 250 students, and we are looking at growing to about 500 in the next three to five years,” he said.

Students from the School of Architecture and Construction Management, School of Computing and Software Engineering, and School of Engineering will all graduate with Nash at 2 p.m. A morning graduation ceremony for students in the School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering, Technology and Management will begin at 10.

David Connell, CEO of the Cobb Chamber, will be the guest speaker at both services, which will take place in the school gymnasium.
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anonymous
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May 12, 2012
A civil engineering degree is something to be proud of. You will make safe and useful things which people will enjoy.
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