Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another Semester Done!

Even now I am continuing to reap the benefits of the REU. The experience I received in Risa-3D was very helpful in this previous semester. I was able to begin the design of my reinforced concrete project using the knowledge I gained in the program. This gave me an advantage over my peers who had not had any experience in using the program or a similar one. Also, my familiarity with calculating wind loads propelled our group faster towards the completion of the project. I definitely have no regrets for being a part of the program, as it continuously benefits me as time goes on. As my undergraduate career nears its end I hope to enter into graduate studies and will begin searching and applying for schools during this summer.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Semester, New Outlook

I have begun a new semester here at UTA. Currently I am taking mechanics of materials and I can see where course material corresponds with what I did during the summer. Things such as stress, strain, etc., which I worked out for various structures during the research opportunity have returned to the forefront of my studies. I look forward to seeing the next thing which will reemerge.

I am really astonished at how well the REU allowed me to foster a good relationship with many of the professors. It has made me well known among the faculty and it makes me feel special. I also see some of the other participants very often and have kept good relations with them, to the extent where I am currently working on projects with some of them.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hurricane Season

The hurricane season has been busy so far, with seven tropical storms and eight hurricanes. Tropical storm Nicole battered my home country of Jamaica and is now headed for Florida. We can only watch and hope that the storm is not too devastating. With the hurricane season to end on November 30, we can no doubt expect more storms. I empathize with anyone affected by the storms and hope that they will keep safe.

New Benefits

It has been about a month and a half since I completed the Research Experience for Undergraduates(REU). I continually realize new benefits of my participation. I recently earned an internship and my employer was ecstatic to learn that I had studied parts of ASCE 7-05, because his company uses the code. Also, what I learned about loads on structures, is useful in the statics class I am currently taking. I will undoubtedly continue to reap the benefits of the REU as I continue my academic and professional careers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Research Log

July 2 2010 – Today was orientation day where we met with the various faculties, graduate students and undergraduates. It seems that I am about to work with a very diversified and brilliant group.
July 6 2010 – Myself, along with the two other undergraduates, who were to work with me, met with the graduate student assigned to the project. He explained the project and gave us an overview of what were about to embark on.
July 7 2010 – I spent the day reading through the papers that were handed out on orientation day.
July 8 2010 – Received a lecture on the characteristics of wind and received a practice problem
July 9 2010 – I went to the graduate student to speak to him about books/articles that related to the topic we are investigating
July 12 2010 – I worked on a practice problem given on the 8th of July
July 13 2010 – We received a lecture on wind loads on ASCE standards. We also received chapter 6 of the ASCE 7 -05. Homework was given which utilized the ASCE 7 -05
July 14 2010 – I read parts of the ASCE 7 -05
July 15 2010 – We learned the simplified method of determining wind loads on structures and also for components and cladding. We also had an ethics workshop today.
July 16 2010 – I read parts of the ASCE 7 -05
July 19 2010 – Use the information from the ASCE 7 -05 to evaluate the wind loads on the structure  and its components and cladding using the simplified method
July 20 2010 – Today we learned the analytical method of determining wind loads on structures and components and cladding as defined by the ASCE 7 -05
July 21 2010 – I began to gather the information needed to use the analytical method
July 22 2010 – We received a lecture on design concepts for wooden structures.
July 23 2010 – I reviewed the lecture on wood structure design, because it intrigued me
July 26 2010 – I worked the problem given using the analytical method
July 27 2010 – We reworked and discussed the answer to the analytical method
July 28 2010 – I worked out the loads on components and cladding for a structure using the analytical method
July 29 2010 – A workshop regarding research training and graduate studies occupied most of the day. However, today I learned RISA 3D for the first time and we modeled a basic 2D structure
July 30 2010 – I determined the loads on the same structure done yesterday by hand and compared the results
August 2 2010 – Today I calculated the pressures that would act on a specific buildings components and cladding
August 3 2010 – I worked on RISA 3D and modeled a structure and applied various loads to it. We noticed that applying a cross bracing to the structure greatly diminished the effects of the pressures acting on it
August 4 2010 – I downloaded RISA 2D student edition and practiced modeling some structures
August 5 2010 – We had a lecture on tornadoes and various designs for buildings and safe rooms
August 6 2010 – I created my blog and began posting my work
August 9 2010 – This is the day before the end of the program and it has been an enjoyable experience. It is however crunch time and I am trying to finish all my work to hand in for tomorrow. I also worked on the presentation with my colleagues for presentation tomorrow
August 10 2010 – It is the morning of the final presentations and I am curious as to how the day will actually progress

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reflection paper

I arrived at UTA filled with anxiety, unknowing of what to expect, but with an open mind. On orientation day I met with a plethora of students from varying backgrounds, cultures and schools. This made me realize that the group I was about to work with, was going to be mind bogglingly diverse. We were introduced to professors from multiple disciplines, who all briefly described the type of research they were engaged in. This was my first opportunity to be part of a research community, and as the day wore on, I was able to also meet graduate students. Being in this project has allowed me to create invaluable friendships with both students and professors.

I was placed to work on the Effect of Extreme Event Loads on Structures project. I worked along with two other undergraduates. We worked under the instructions of Dr. Yazdani and the graduate student Tanvir Manzur, both of whom were very helpful throughout the entire course of the project. In the early stages of the project, much time was spent in the explanation of the research process after which our concentration switched gears to analytically assessing wind loads on structures. To accomplish this, we had to study parts of the ASCE 7 -05, a code of national standards. Many hours were spent reading and understanding the topic being researched in addition to being taught how to solve problems using a computer modeling program named RISA-3D.  The program allowed us to experiment with various materials and configurations, which in turn help alleviate the stresses on the structure being analyzed.

Workshops were impressive, having enlightened me as to the procedures involved in conducting research, and informing me of ethical quandaries in the engineering profession. I have become fascinated with the work that researchers do, and appreciate that most of it is done behind the scenes.
Excitement overwhelmed me when we began learning to model structures in RISA -3D. The program allows the user to experiment with varying materials and loads, therefore making it easy to model real-life situations. Another very important aspect is my having gained knowledge of the International Building Code and ASCE 7-05 which will undoubtedly be used again in my professional career. This exposure to programs and codes will prove helpful in my future classes.

The REU program has given me a fresh and incomparable experience. I have gained a vast amount of skill and knowledge. The opportunity to work so closely with students and professors, has allowed me to be a step ahead of my fellow students who have not been afforded this opportunity. The REU not only gave me engineering experience, but required me to create websites, presentations and posters. This was an ingenious way of allowing me to express my thoughts on the experience, while teaching me new skills that could be helpful throughout my career path.

Although being a great opportunity in itself, the REU has contributed positively to my personal development. The project has given me immeasurable knowledge and experience, which I am confident, will be helpful in my future endeavors. I am sure that the experience garnered will have placed me in an advantageous position and allow me to mentor my fellow Civil Engineering undergraduates. Being from a Caribbean country which is exposed to hurricanes I hope to use the information gathered to benefit the community from which I come. It has also helped me to understand better the dynamics involved in constructing structures which are exposed/prone to hurricanes.

I have yet to realize any detrimental effects from the REU and I highly doubt there are or will ever be any. Since this experience, I have a renewed desire to study civil engineering Overall I think the majority of my peers would say they have had as good an experience as I have. I agree with the attempt to try and diversify engineering, and I think it is an extraordinary venture. If my group represented the future of engineering, then the profession has a bright and diversified future.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


On the first day of the program, I was able to see the diversified group which was to be my coworkers. Since the project’s start, I have become friends with most of the participants. I can now say that I have friends throughout the country. Not only am I glad for making new friends, I know that it will be good for my networking in the future. The REU gave me a chance to create good relationships with students and professors. The graduate student that worked with me and the other two undergraduates was very friendly, yet professional.  He was open to any questions we had pertaining to the research, and he provided help whenever it was necessary. Our professor guided us in the research and would be open whenever we had a question. These interactions with students and faculty would not be possible if it was not for the REU.