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I have a friend of mine ask this question to me.  His contention was that there would be a lot of answers but the answers would  generally be characterized as outside influences.  You see this a lot in life.  So I asked a very narrow group of my students (seniors) this question.  These were their answers:

Myself or some part of it 30
A class 6
nothing 3
FE Exam 2
money 2
IRS 1
44

My buddy was both wrong and amazed.  Nearly 70% of the students said the issue involved them.  of those 30 responses above, the most common of the answers was time management, somethings students struggle to learn.  I wonder how many people would see things this way as well?  My buddy was really impressed with my students.  Now he should come see their final presentations and prepare to be really impressed.

time mgmt 13
Me 4
fear of failure 3
lanugage 2
communication skills 1
confidence 1
disorganization 1
haiving limits 1
indiscretions 1
interpersonal skills 1
see the big picture 1
taking responsibility 1

Of course the “IRS” and “indiscetions” answers might be the more interesting….

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This past weekend I had the pleasure to accompany 30+ of my civil engineering students to Chattanooga to compete against 27 other engineering schools and 900 students in the annual southeastern ASCE student contest.  Great fun.  if you don’t believe concrete canoes can float, just try racing them!  And if you think kids can’t make very cool, very stable and very strong bridges, you missed out, along with another dozen or more contests that challenge their skills, communication and cooperation.  I will post some photos but congrats to all the participants.  And especially congrats to our FAU students who competed well, showed themselves well and learned a lot in Tennessee!


My students are back from the ASCE Southeast Regional Student Competition.  They received 2 second place awards out of 18 contests.  Not too shabby considering there were only about 30 students that were active in putting this together, all going to school full-time, and many working and supporting families.  And they were competing against 30 other schools, including several far bigger engineering schools like the Universities of Florida, Alabama, and Central Florida and Auburn University. 

So how did they do?  Let’s start with the canoe.  The canoe was indestructible (see photo).  The students rowed well given very little experience.  Far better than some of the other schools despite the wind and currents in the canal.  The canoe was 700 lbs and it still floated.  They finished second on plan reading and professional paper competitions.  The environmental filter worked super well the first trial.  A little plugging on the second but a good job regardless.  The balsa bridge held 700 lbs and the 186 g 2 x 2 x 2 inch cube – 1400 lbs.  They also did surveying, shuffleboard with concrete materials, and several others.  All good efforts, and each year gets better. 

If you have never seen these competitions, you need to.  The students work hard, compete well and have fun.  It is a good means to meet other students and see what they do.  The key is to autopsy the results to help the next students.  Overall a good experience for all of them.  So congratulations!

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