The Masterminds Behind Roads, Rails and Really Big Stuff The Masterminds Behind Roads, Rails and Really Big Stuff

The Masterminds Behind Roads, Rails and Really Big Stuff

Engineer. OK, the word can sound a little scary. In actuality, it's one of the most creative careers you can choose. Have you ever crossed a bridge? Played a video game? Flipped on a light switch? Eaten a jellybean or listened to a CD? Then you've sampled what an engineer does. It was an engineer who invented the Slinky!

When it comes to the construction industry, civil engineering is the field that matters most. As the folks at the Construction Industry Advancement Program in Edison like to say, civil engineers are the masterminds behind rails, roads and really big stuff. Civil engineers think big—they design highways, railways and bridges. They make taller and stronger skyscrapers possible. And they regularly pull off near miracles, like building subways beneath cities and laying tunnels under the sea floor, sometimes even to connect two different countries. The Channel Tunnel that connects England and France is 32 miles long. Civil engineers made sure that when the two parts of the tunnel came together, neither was too high, too low, or too far to the left or right to be joined together.

Civil engineers build the systems that bring clean water for drinking, cooking and bathing. They also design sewerage systems to take away waste. Been to Great Adventure lately? Some civil engineers give us better amusement park rides, testing them many times to make sure that they are safe and exciting.

New Jersey is a great place to be employed as a civil engineer. "Other fields may fluctuate with time, but civil engineering is relatively stable," notes Nabil Al-Omaishi, coordinator and associate professor of civil engineering at The College of New Jersey in Ewing. "There is a big demand for civil engineering in this area, because of the demand in the construction industry and the antiquated infrastructure. In civil engineering, we are trying to groom students to be society leaders. We place an emphasis on technical writing, public speaking, running businesses. The true emphasis is to produce leaders, not just engineers."

If you're interested in engineering, you should be maxing out courses in math and science. They are the main building blocks of an engineering career. Test your skills and explore your interests at the following links: www.eweek.org, www.engineergirl.org, www.express.howstuffworks.com, www.discoverengineering.org, www.societyofwomenengineers.org and www.mathcounts.org.