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Interns Win ACEC Tarrant County Scholarships

August 08, 2018

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Tarrant County held an essay contest this summer for engineering interns at Tarrant County firms. Two of the three winners were from Freese and Nichols' Fort Worth office - Moriah Hughes, Structural, and Caroline Hackett, Water Resource Planning/Stormwater. 

Interns were asked to write an essay on the topic: "What changes do you envision in the field of engineering during your career, and how will you use your strengths in response to those changes?" They also had a short interview with the ACEC Education Committee, on the day of the luncheon, where they were asked about their essay topics and what they've learned from their internships. 

Fort Worth summer interns were guests at the July luncheon.​ First row: Luke Henderson, Kristin Williamson, Kendall Reich, Marissa Cole; Second row: Cameron Smith, Nathan Lockhart, John Dewar, Caroline Hackett, Moriah Hughes.

Caroline wrote her essay about the challenges facing the Texas water resources sector over the next 50 years, including rapid population growth, urbanization and changing water availability, such as more frequent droughts, floods and higher average temperatures. 

"I think water resources engineers will have to be innovative in using non-traditional water sources and storage methods, and will have to collaborate across sectors in order to encourage water efficiency," Caroline said. "In addition to being technically competent, they will also have to be role models and advocates for sustainable water use."

Moriah's response addressed the effect technologies, such as 3D modeling and VR, and their integration with analysis and design software, will have on the lifecycle of a project and, as a result, the method of project delivery and the role of the design engineer. 

"As the design packages become more sophisticated, powerful, and integrated, I believe the nitty-gritty work of the structural engineer - the time-consuming calculations and analysis - will be reduced," Moriah said. "There will be a correlating demand for 'tech-savvy,' especially in 3D modeling competency, as the delineation between modeling and design roles is lessened."

Moriah predicts that even though the role of engineers as society's problem-solvers will not change, the medium in which they fulfill that role will continue to evolve along with advancements in technology.

Caroline and Moriah each won a $1,500 scholarship. Caroline is in her second year of the Hydrogeology master's program at University of Texas at Austin, and Moriah is a senior in civil engineering at LeTourneau University.