The Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) is one of nine specialty institutes of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The mission of SEI is “to advance and serve the structural engineering profession.” SEI Boston Chapter supports this mission with a variety of initiatives that bring our local community of structural engineers together to share ideas.
Our most visible and consistent activities include organizing and hosting technical lectures, networking events, and site tours. Although we’ve been limited to a virtual format over the past year, we have successfully hosted a variety of events, including MBTA’s Tunnel Inspection Training workshops, a webinar featuring the signature Champlain Bridge megaproject in Montreal, an inspiring presentation on bridge aesthetics, a thought-provoking take on automation and the future of the engineering profession, and a very informative adjacent construction webinar. Additionally, we just completed our signature biannual Lecture Series.
The planning for the Lecture Series spanned two years, three SEI Chapter chairs, and the pandemic to date. Two years ago, we envisioned an in-person event, but were forced to adapt. Fittingly, this year’s Lectures Series featured a “Rehabilitation and Repair of Structures” theme and highlighted a variety of examples of adapting structures. Seven lectures covered topics from revitalizing working waterfronts to testing, preserving, and rehabilitating bridges and buildings. I’m happy to report that the event went smoothly and, based on the feedback within the post-event attendee surveys, was well-received. The survey results also showed an appetite for more in-person events, a sentiment I share strongly. In-person events provide valuable opportunities for networking and informal professional development that is difficult to replicate in virtual formats. We will be hosting additional events, likely a mix of in-person and virtual formats, starting in early 2022. In the meantime, we are excited to ramp up our mentoring programs.
It goes without saying that structural engineers are well-respected technical experts, but we can and should be even more. We need to consider the future of the built environment, as well as the future of our profession, and so we are engaging with the next generation of engineers. We are planning various mentoring programs with high schools through a new ASCE club and/or the ASCE Mentor Program, as well as with colleges through participation in our meetings and events (shoutout to Boston’s Northeastern Graduate Student Engineering Association for being the 2021 graduate student chapter of the year!), and with our very own BSCES Younger Member Group through co-sponsored social events. Within the broader mission of advancing and serving the profession, SEI has an exciting and bold vision for the future of our profession. I encourage you to look at the following sites:
A lot is changing right now, between where people live and work, and how business is conducted. During this big shift, I encourage everyone to engineer some structured time into your new routines for volunteering and for your own professional development. Joining the SEI Boston Chapter executive committee and one of our subcommittees is a great way to do this. Our executive committee meets once per month, and each of our subcommittees has one separate monthly meeting. Participating in the inter-meeting email banter is optional. (Take a look at Brian Brenner’s essay in this newsletter entitled The Queen’s Bridge Gambit.) If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to Peeyush, Irena, or me.
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Supported by the staff of The Engineering Center Education Trust