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Alumni Spotlight: Engagement during and after MEng

2ec24c8By: Rachel Fleming, MEng ’13

I am a “double Dukie” as some people would say. The 4+1 MEng Program was the perfect opportunity for me to spend one more year on a beautiful campus, earn my Master’s degree and share my alma mater with MEng peers from around the world. The Civil MEng program allowed me to take my structural engineering education to the next level while gaining an introduction to the business side of the industry. To this day when I speak to prospective Pratt students, I highlight the unique MEng program that Duke has to offer. Everything from graduate student campout to MEMP seminars enhanced my overall Duke experience.

After graduation – the second time – I began working full time for Gilbane Building Company in Durham. As a project engineer, my role was to assist with the management of a construction site where I coordinated the updating and distribution of construction drawings, tracked and resolved on-site issues, compiled subcontractor invoices and much more. I was very grateful for the MEng internship requirement that helped me gain real-world structural engineering experience that continues to help me as a construction manager. Now, I am about halfway through a two year Gilbane management rotational program where I am gaining experience with estimating, purchasing, marketing and business development in addition to many more facets of the company.

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I am thankful that working at Gilbane has allowed me to continue to stay engaged with Duke and specifically with MEng and MEMP. I enjoy seeing the students at TechConnect and other industry events. The highlight so far has been working with a great group of MEMP practicum students mentored by John Nicholson. They fostered a wonderful collaboration with DiVE Director Regis Kopper and Research and Development Engineer David Zielinski. The team took on a challenging project that looked at how to bring a construction BIM model into the DiVE to allow clients and end users to virtually walk through their future space and inform early design decisions. The group took the project a step further and explored the ability to move objects in a room while standing in the DiVE. Culminating in a DiVE open house presentation, the students demonstrated their project to Duke faculty, staff and local Architects by leading live demonstrations of the virtual reality experience. Through practica, career fairs and events I look forward to engaging with future MEng and MEMP students as an alumna.

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