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Lauren Reiter

BS/MS Civil Engineering
Lauren Reiter

Hometown: Westborough, MA

Anticipated year of Graduation: June 2012

Major: BS/MS Civil Engineering


Please describe your study/research interests and why.

Coming into Drexel I was not sure what concentration I wanted to study within engineering. My first co-op experience confirmed that I wanted to pursue civil engineering and initiated my interest in transportation. During my second co-op at Pennoni Associates, I was fortunate enough to go on a field trip to the Baltimore office and observe an underwater bridge inspection. The hands on experience and opportunity to speak with other engineers in the field encouraged me to pursue a career in bridge design and construction. I decided to pick up my masters in structural engineering to supplement my bachelors degree in civil engineering to work towards this career path. Additionally, I did my final co-op in bridge construction to round out my co-op experience.

Describe your co-op experience.  Include where you worked, a brief description of your duties, and what you learned.

I performed my first co-op at AECOM working in the aviation department. Besides learning about airport design, I learned how to perform quantity take offs for cost estimates, how to put together technical specifications for bid packages, and how engineering design teams work in general. I performed my second co-op at Pennoni Associates doing highway and traffic planning and design. Apart from using AutoCAD and MicroStation to put together contract drawings, I performed traffic counts and sight distances for the planning of future projects. Finally, I performed my last co-op at Route 52 Constructors: a joint venture between Wagman, Inc. and R. E. Pierson. At Route 52 I got to perform a wide variety of tasks including demolition calculations, blow counts, document control, material delivery and inventory, and equipment purchasing.

Describe any extracurricular activities that you participate in.

I am a member of Drexel’s women’s rugby club team as well as Kappa Theta Epsilon, the national co-op honors society. Being a part of these organizations has allowed me to meet new people outside my major and class. It has also taught me how to run an organization effectively and forced me to learn to manage my time. Additionally, I am a part of ASCE’s concrete canoe team, which involves engineering design in a more social atmosphere.

Explain what you would like to do after graduation.

I am not certain what I would like to do after graduation, but the co-op program has brought me three steps closer. If I had not had the three co-op experiences that I did, I would not have concluded that I want to work in bridge design and/or construction. After working in design and construction, I know that there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Now I just need to decide which one to pursue.

Explain what you like about Drexel’s Engineering Program.

Drexel’s Engineering Program does a great job of connecting the analytics from the classroom to the real world. Besides the co-op experiences, you learn a lot about applying your education to the real world because the classes are based around design. Not only does the program include a freshmen and senior design, but the homeworks focus on real world problems. You find that what you are learning in the classroom is directly related to what you are doing in the real world whether it’s equations or teamwork skills.