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MCEER REU Students Participate in 
Annual Symposium

Twenty-four student research interns attended NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates Symposium in Salt Lake City.

Undergraduates from across the nation converged upon Salt Lake City, Utah for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Earthquake Engineering Research Centers' 2001 Student Symposium. Twenty-four student research interns attended the event; seven of which were sponsored by MCEER. 

 The MCEER-coordinated symposium was the culmination of an eight-week program in which each student interned with a faculty advisor belonging to one of the three earthquake centers: the Mid-America Earthquake Center, the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center , or MCEER (see the Summer 2001 issue of the Bulletin, or visit for a list of MCEER interns and mentoring faculty). The program itself was sponsored as part of NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. 

Primarily, the symposium served to provide a forum for the interns to present their work and get to know their peers. Over two days, each participant gave a ten-minute talk regarding their project. The topics covered many different facets of earthquake engineering, thus providing a stimulating atmosphere for the interns to expand their knowledge of the field. Proceedings will be available on the MCEER website. Contact Andrea Dargush at for details. 

The presentations were complimented by numerous additional educational and social activities. First, Professor Ed Harris of Texas A & M University gave a talk on engineering ethics and the issues that face those in the field. To apply the methods for decision-making presented by Professor Harris, the session closed with the research interns breaking into groups to examine ethical case studies. An evening reception and banquet served to give the interns the opportunity to get to know one another, as well as the professors who were attending the symposium. Further, the banquet was followed by a talk by Mr. A. Parry Brown, Vice President of Reaveley Engineers & Associates, Inc. His presentation, "Designing for Earthquakes in Salt Lake City," discussed the efforts that the city is devoting to retrofitting certain buildings to mitigate the seismic hazard associated with the area. Finally, Professor T. Leslie Youd of Brigham Young University led a field trip to several seismically designed or retrofitted buildings in the Salt Lake City area. The tour included the historic Salt Lake City and County building, which had been retrofitted with base isolators, and the new Church of Latter Day Saints Conference Center, which seats about 21,000 people and is built to survive UBC Seismic Zone 4 forces. 

Through the course of these internships and the symposium, the undergraduate interns learned a great deal about the discipline of earthquake engineering, while also getting a head start on meeting peers in their field from across the nation - an opportunity for which they otherwise may have had to wait for years. Given the quality of the presentations, and the fulfilling weekend of activities, the program was a great success for all those who participated.

Submitted by Michal Orlikowski, REU Intern, Princeton University


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