Mentoring the Senior Design Class

The Senior Design program at the University of Alabama provides students with the opportunity to get realistic experience practicing engineering with area industries.

Sain Associates has had the pleasure of working with the Senior Design Class every semester since the Fall of 2017. Each semester the class is given a different engineering project, and professionals aid the students in coming up with ideas as well as challenging them with questions in order to complete the project.

The current Sain mentoring team includes Chris Jenkins, Matt Hogan, and Darren Hamrick. They drive to Tuscaloosa about six times every semester to assist the students during the course. This semester the hypothetical project involves the building of a new indoor sports and activities center in Alexander City, Alabama. The students must create a set of schematic plans for the following proposed improvements: the new facility will include an outdoor swimming pool, a new right-in-only access from Highway 280, a new full directional access from Airport Drive, and an associated parking field.

Students are given a document with more in-depth information regarding design, utilities, grading, storm water management and drainage and erosion control in order to make appropriate plans.

Chris Jenkins, Project Manager, who has been volunteering with the mentoring program for over a year, explains what the “mentoring” process looks like and means to him:

“We begin by giving them a presentation on hydrology and erosion control. After that we focus on helping each student with the semester’s project. We give them pointers and examples, but we do not do the thinking for them! It can be difficult sometimes to explain something I have been doing for 20 years in a way that a student without a lot of experience can understand, but I think it is helpful for both of us when I do! I truly enjoy getting to know the students and helping them apply their knowledge to find a solution for the project.”

It is a privilege to support these students on their road to engineering successes!

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