We asked a handful of Civil & Environmental Engineering Grad students some questions – this is what they said:

What’s your favorite thing specifically about the CEE department?

My favorite thing about CEE is no matter whether they can solve a student’s problem, they want to listen and try to figure it out – not only by your academic advisor but also the staff.

As a PhD student coming here with a bachelor and master degree in ocean engineering from China, I didn’t think too much when choosing CEE department, as it is the closest one to what I have studied. My understanding in Civil Engineering was quite narrow at that time, thinking it was just about building designs. And I thought my research on hurricane hazard would be quite special. Yet the diversity in this CEE department, and even in my office of structural engineering, really blew my mind over the past two and half years. There are people using deep learning to detect structural damage and others considering the resilience of not only a single structure, but a whole community. Working with them has really broadened my horizons and I did learned a lot from the people here.

The resources, for example, the Design Studio (having plotters available) has been extremely helpful in situations when (for my own lack of organization) I’ve needed to have a poster printed in a few hours. The materials are always available and you don’t have to break the bank!

My favorite thing about the CEE department is the community. I love walking into the design studio and always running into someone I know. I am also grateful to be part of a department that is so committed to continual improvement and always listening to it’s students.

Well, there are two things that I like about CEE. First, everyone in the department is trying their best to make things easier. As an international student, I faced many problems upon arrival and there was always someone I can go to and get help resolving any issue. I felt like people care, will sit down and listen to me to work things out. Second, CEE shows a lot of flexibility when it comes to taking courses, so much so that the interdisciplinary degree is very popular. This is particularly amazing because you have the freedom to learn what is actually beneficial to your research and what interests you.

A vibrant department always has some event happening, like happy hour or interesting speaker series, which keeps us involved throughout the academic semester. Also, there is a lot of research going on and there will always be a project that stirs our curiosity and motivates us to get plugged in.

The seminars are really informative.

If you had one piece of advice to give a new student coming in, what would it be?

Remember to have a close relationship with your academic advisor and be prepared before every meeting.

Don’t be afraid to learn new concepts and try new technologies. Even though Civil and Environmental Engineering is a quite mature subject, there are still a whole bunch of unknown areas to explore

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Be it personally or academically (classes or research). Your peers, your advisor, and the Department’s personnel are more than likely happy and able to help.

Get involved! It was definitely important in undergrad but I would say that it’s even more important as a graduate student. It’s easy to feel as though there’s not enough time to do everything that we want to everyday. But taking the time to get involved with the graduate CEE community here at Northeastern has really added to my experience here.

Keep a healthy work-life balance.

Don’t ever quit and try not to feel tensed throughout your studies (or in life). Put in your maximum effort and face the challenges with confidence. You will always find a solution to the challenges along the way.

Don’t take your time here for granted. Don’t just be here for a degree. Northeastern has provided an environment where you can learn valuable things and do shit that matters. Seize these opportunities and take the best out of them!

See more Student Stories here.

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