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Construction management: the new spectator sport

Dan Barrett and Nick Torgusson at Extreme Makeover
Dan Barrett (left) and Nick Torgusson, UNL undergraduate students in construction management, volunteer their labor for the construction of a home for an episode of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Photo: Patricia Saldana

University of Nebraska senior construction management student Dan Barrett never thought he would live to see the day construction management became a spectator sport. If anybody doubts Barrett's assertion, then one only need see the crowds gathered at the construction site of a home in northeast Lincoln being built for an episode of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Barrett and junior Nick Torgusson, president and vice president of the student chapter of National Association of Home Builders, along with other members of the organization, are volunteering their labor to make the dream of a new home come true for a family in need. Barrett and Torgusson had little time to organize the student volunteers.

"This happened really quickly," Barrett said. "But we saw it as an opportunity for our chapter members to see how things get organized on a job site and learn about teamwork. It's a great learning experience," he said.

In addition to making sure workers have appropriate gear and keeping the street safe around the site, students are performing other construction site jobs.

"It's nice for the university," Torgusson said. "It's just one more thing that makes Nebraska's construction management program great and gets students involved in NAHB."

College to host TEAMS 2007 Competition

Released Nov. 2, 2006

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering will host the Tests of Engineering Aptitude Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) competition Feb. 27, 2007. TEAMS is an annual national one-day competition for high school students where students apply concepts in math, science and physics to solve real world engineering problems.

TEAMS is sponsored by the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS), a nonprofit education organization promoting interest in engineering, science, mathematics and technology. The UNL College of Engineering has served as a local competition host for more than 20 years.

Local high schools and organizations are encouraged to form teams of four to eight students in grades 9 through 12. Schools may enter more than one team; both junior varsity and varsity levels are available. Teams must be coached by an adult, who may be a teacher, counselor, parent, or professional engineer. Teams should start preparing in the fall by practicing the mechanics of teamwork and group problem-solving, often with the support of an engineering mentor. Training and practice resources are available to coaches and students on-line at

The TEAMS test is an open-book, open-note, open-discussion format in a one-day, two-part competition. Part I consists of multiple-choice questions related to various engineering situations. Part II requires students to describe and defend their solution related to problems worked in Part I. Teams compete for local, state and national awards and recognition.

Interested schools should visit to pre-register and select the University of Nebraska competition site. The registration deadline is Jan. 19, 2007. For more details about the TEAMS competition, contact Trish Fenster, TEAMS Coordinator, UNL College of Engineering at 402-472-7094.

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