When Civil Engineering major Veronica Wambura first arrived at NYU Abu Dhabi, she thought she knew what she’d be studying. “I thought civil engineering was all about designing structures and buildings,” she says. “My dad is a civil engineer at home in Tanzania, and that’s what I saw him doing.” Thanks to NYU Abu Dhabi’s broad civil engineering curriculum, Veronica, now a senior, has learned how expansive the field is. What’s more, she has discovered what she’s most passionate about.
A Real Eye-Opener
The field first opened up in her mind when she took the course Environmental Engineering. “We learned a lot about water treatment and ways to make water potable,” she says. Through the class’s lab component, Veronica even conducted the same experiments that professional civil engineers do in the field. This included testing water samples for cleanliness and potability. “It was really eye opening for me. I never thought civil engineering had anything to do with water,” shares Veronica. Environmental Engineering wasn’t the only class that helped open her eyes.
Hands-On Work Takes it Further
In the spring of her junior year, Veronica spent a semester abroad at the New York City campus. There, she took Geotechnical Engineering to explore the geological aspects of her major, namely soil. “Before a structure is built, engineers have to test the soil at a build site to make sure it can support the structure,” she says. “I conducted sieve analyses in class to see how different types and combinations of soil would be able to hold up a building.” Water and soil. These were two aspects of civil engineering that Veronica had never considered. But it didn’t stop there.
Making Connections Across Classes
While studying in New York City, Veronica also took Transportation Systems Analytics. “Transportation isn’t just about roads and how they work,” she says. “I was so surprised to learn that it also involves things like queues in grocery stores and airports. We even looked at elevators as transportation systems.” Her biggest surprise came when the class looked at the supply and demand of ambulances in towns and cities. The concept harkened back to an economics class she’d taken as part of her liberal arts curriculum. “We looked at the number of people living in an area. We examined how often they typically need an ambulance, and how large of an area each ambulance can cover,” she says. “My economics class helped me better understand these ideas. But I never would have thought a non-engineering class would connect so directly with an engineering class.”
Prepared to Make an Impact
Veronica is grateful for the breadth of knowledge she’s gained as a Civil Engineering major at NYU Abu Dhabi. Not only has she learned how diverse her field is, but she’s started to carve a path forward. “After studying topics like transportation, geotechnics, and water, I’ve discovered that I’m passionate about the environmental aspects of civil engineering,” she shares. “NYU Abu Dhabi has given me the chance to focus my future—and better prepare to have a larger impact than I thought I could.”