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Service, Outreach & More


Doctors take an oath to serve mankind, and so do engineers. Civil and environmental engineers and earth scientists have a long tradition of helping others. This is especially true at Notre Dame, where our Catholic mission also encourages us to help our fellow man and make the world a better, safer, more prosperous, and more sustainable place in which to live. As an undergraduate in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, you will have many opportunities to do just that ... locally, nationally, and internationally. Some of the ways in which you can participate include:

ASCE Habitat for Humanity


Engineers without Borders



In addition to serving others, engineers have the responsibility, and the pleasure, of mentoring the next generation of engineers. This is why we work with local schools and other organizations to share our love of math, science, and technology with school children of all ages. The fact that we can do that through programs that deal specifically with civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences makes it even more fun. Although there are any number of opportunities for Notre Dame engineering students to work with K-12 students throughout the year, our department offers several outreach programs that get things moving and shaking. Check it out:

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) at Notre Dame
From Shakes & Quakes to Ms. Wizard Day to Linking Math & Engineering and Science Alive!, EERI undergraduates work with local school children to introduce them to engineering, how engineers affect everyday life, and how important it is to study math and science as a preparation for a variety of careers.

For example, Shakes & Quakes literally takes earthquakes into K-12 classrooms with a portable shaker table that helps students better understand building responses to earthquakes. Students then "build" their own structures with LEGO and K'NEX and place them on the shaker table to see how they would respond under "real" earthquake conditions.

Sponsored by the University of Notre Dame, Ms. Wizard Day encourages young girls to pursue careers in engineering and science. EERI members participate in the career fair portion of the day, which features a number of interactive displays that introduce the basic concepts of earthquake hazards, risk, and mitigation along with elementary dynamics concepts.

Science Alive! is an annual event held at the South Bend Public Library. It is held in conjunction with the North Central branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Last year the Notre Dame student chapter of the ASCE led a surveying station at the event and also assisted a number of other stations set up for the young students.


Extend your learning experience beyond classroom walls with field trips that allow you to explore the real world. On previous trips civil engineering students have been able to inspect and explore New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, actually spending time with members of the Army Corps of Engineers and touring some of the local facilities and levees. Typically occurring during the fall of the junior year, civil engineering students have also explored large cities like New York, focusing on the water supply, transportation systems, and efforts to secure public structures against terrorist attacks.

Environmental engineering and earth science students have focused their visits on a number of significant geologic locations in the Southwest, including trips to the Nevada Test Site and several national parks where they were able to learn more about the geological processes and formations there. They have also visited northern Michigan several times where geologic processes have affected the chemistry and structure of the environment there for centuries.

For more information on our annual junior class field trip as well as other field trips, and to see pictures of the things we have seen and done on those field trips, visit our Field Trips page.


Networking is a part of every profession, and engineering undergraduates at Notre Dame have the opportunity to participate in professional and honor societies that offer opportunities to learn and grow as an engineer.

There are also ways to use your experience and the expertise you are developing as an engineer in very fun ways. Not only does this help you get to know your fellow ND students better, but you'll be able to meet and interact with engineering students regionally and across the country.

For example, every year our students participate in the ASCE concrete canoe competition. Yes, they build a concrete canoe. Okay, it's  a canoe with an outer shell made of special concrete mixtures which are designed to provide maximum strength (it has to hold people) at minimum weights. Then the races begin! Even if you are not a member of the team, you'll want to go out and cheer for your fellow students. The first canoe races occur against other regional colleges, then nationally. Go Irish!

Our students also compete in the ASCE steel bridge competition, where they design, build, and test a steel bridge to meet the specific strength, weight, and stability requirements of the contest. These competitions also begin on the regional level before going to the national level against schools from across the country.

They also participate in more academic competitions, such as the Metcalf & Eddy Design Competition where they compete against other engineering students from engineering programs across the country in the design of real-world solutions to problems in water supply and treatment.

To find out more about student organizations, professional societies and the Notre Dame student chapters, or how to become involved in student competitions, visit the College of Engineering's Student Organizations page.


After you graduate, your job may take you to different parts of the world. But you don't have to wait. You can study abroad — for a summer or a semester — and still complete your degree in four years. The College of Engineering offers a variety of semester-long programs are available in cities around the world (London, England; Perth, Australia; Puebla, Mexico; and more) as well as summer experiences (Bejing, China; London, England; Rome, Italy; and Alcoy, Spain). You could even choose to study for an entire academic year (or a semester) in Dublin, Ireland.

As a civil or environmental engineering or earth sciences student, you want to talk with your adviser about these options and what they mean to your program. Although you need to apply for these programs through the Office of International Studies, you can also check out these programs through our Study Abroad page.


Last, but not least, you need to remember that in addition to networking and having fun, your focus is on an engineering education. In addition to classroom experiences and field trips, the department offers several seminar series that feature leaders from industry, consulting, government, and academia to share their experiences  — how they are addressing some of those big questions.

From the Challenges and Innovation in Civil & Environmental Engineering Seminar Series to the Environmental Fluid Dynamics Seminar Series and more, speakers have included Rodney Beadle, president and founder of Engineering Resource Associations; Imad A. Hannoun, principal consultant at Water Quality Solutions; Paul Giroux, senior engineer of the birdge and marine division of Kiewit Infrastructure West; and more. They have addressed topics such as advancements in wind engineering, responses to typhoons, opportunities for reducing earthquake risks, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the design and construction of drilled shafts, and recent advances in the design of nuclear power plants.

These presentations are a great way for you to meet people who are tops in their field, learn what they are doing, and pick their brains about, well, anything. For information about upcoming seminars, speakers, and topics, visit our Seminars and Workshops page.