Tours of a $455 million stadium, the nation’s largest nuclear generating station, and an Apache helicopter plant were just some of the highlights of the College of Engineering’s annual Engineering Learning Community trip in March 2010.
The trip is open primarily to students in the college’s learning community on the Lincoln City Campus, but also includes new and returning students from both the Lincoln and Omaha programs.
Engineering alumni play a primary role in providing opportunities for the students, using their resources and connections in the Phoenix area. Roger Brodman, a 1979 industrial engineering alumnus and a judge with the Superior Court in Maricopa County, Phoenix, hosted the 39 students and other members of the college’s advisory board at his home. Alumni who helped coordinate the trip to Phoenix included Bob Brightfelt, Roger Brodman, Dennis Hirschbrunner, and Ron Taylor. Joe Youssefi helped coordinate an evening scavenger hunt at the 50-acre Desert Botanical Garden for the students.
Employees at the Boeing Apache helicopter plant provided an in-depth tour of the facility and the varied roles engineers play in the production of the helicopters. The students then were given a formal tour of the 1.7 million square foot University of Phoenix stadium. Of special interest was the grass field, which rolls out of the stadium on an 18.9 million pound tray and resides outside of the stadium except for football and soccer events.
Additional tours included the ultra-secure Palo Verde Nuclear Generating station 45 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Phoenix Light Rail System, hosted by HDR.
The students also attended two professional athletic events: a Phoenix Suns basketball game and a major league spring baseball training game.
According to Dave Williams, director of retention and coordinator of the ELC trips, this annual excursion to cities across the U.S. is a unique experience for Nebraska Engineering students and allows them to learn more about different engineering fields, network with college alumni, and also take in some sightseeing and exploration. He emphasized that this trip is both educational and a lot of fun for the engineering students who participate.
Next year’s trip is tentatively set for the North Carolina Research Triangle, and alumni in the area are encouraged to get involved.