June 8, 2023

‘Real-world applications of what we are studying’

NDSU students are prepared for a career in civil engineering with hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to real-world problems.

David R. Steward, Walter B. Booth Distinguished Professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, teaches an upper division water resources course. In his class, students study the development of water treatment systems, distribution of water for municipal use and the collection and transportation of water resources.

They supplemented their classroom experience with tours of the Moorhead Water Treatment Plant and Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Project, offering a behind-the-scenes view of local issues.

“We commonly discuss the real-world applications of what we are studying in class,” said Matthew Kasella, a senior civil engineering student from Morrill, Minnesota. “When flooding begins in Fargo, we start class with looking at the height of the river and discuss the consequences and what is going on.”

During their tour of the ongoing diversion project, students heard from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Diversion Authority on flood mitigation efforts in the Fargo-Moorhead area. They learned from professionals working in the field each day and saw course concepts in action.

Steward designed the course around the NCEES Professional Engineer Examination, which students take four years after they graduate. Each section of the class covers a different topic from the exam.

“Dr. Steward writes his test in a way that gives us exposure of the types of problems we will see on our fundamentals of engineering or professional engineering exams relating with water recourses,” said Kasella.

The course also covers special topics, like coastal engineering and fire demand. These topics offer interesting material that breaks up the course, said Kasella.

Steward’s approach to teaching earned him the Innovation in Teaching Award from the NDSU Office of Teaching and Learning this semester.

“During class, Dr. Steward will commonly mention what types of equations or problems we will see more in the field,” Kasella said. “We tend to use realistic numbers and real-life examples when running computations. We learn a lot about the practical design and usages of all the different math and water engineering theories that are covered in class.”

Apply now to begin your NDSU experience.

Start your NDSU experience by completing your application.