@SAFirstYears Post: Steel Structures

My forth @SAFirstYears blog post – published date of 2/15/2012:

Last Friday I attended Steel Structures class with a group of my student staff members.  We learned about flexual and local buckling with regards to elasticity or inelasticity of the column.  There was also an abundance of formulas and charts.  I’m sure you can imagine my facial expressions through the 50-minute class  – interest, concentration, and awe.  I also took notes, so I wouldn’t stick out excessively, (although I think my bright colored skirt and shoes had no problem making that happen).  The undergraduate Hall Directors I supervise got a kick out of watching my engagement in the course.  (They thought I was writing down equations, but I was actually taking notes for this post.)

I bet you are wondering why I decided to spend an hour of my Friday morning attending Steel Structures.  It boils down to this: even though I am deep in the trenches each day, I still feel removed from the Mines student experience.  This is understandable.  Mines is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) institution.  The only science class I took in undergrad was Geology.  Every day I ask my students how their classes are going, but beyond calculus and physics, I only remotely understand the concepts of what they are learning.  In addition to working at a specialized institution, being a professional means I am not currently in the classroom. (Ph.D or Ed.D = TBD.)  Students work off homework deadlines and upcoming test dates; I work off an hourly calendar and departmental goals.

And while I feel removed, I can also relate to these students. The majority of the dudes in my family – cousins, uncles, father, brother, and grandpas – are engineers.  Ever since I can remember, math, physics, and science have been common dinner conversations.  I am also quite the nerd.  I obtained a math minor in college ‘for kicks’ and prefer watching Star Wars movies (only the originals) over any movie, any time.  This has been beneficial to my ability to connect with my students and help them in the best way I know.

Ultimately, my goal in attending the class was to understand my students’ experience.  A 50-minute class period definitely does not encompass the daily grind for them, but I have a greater appreciation for the expectations regarding academic performance.  Sometimes it is good to go back to the basics to remember the true experience of the students we are serving.

Also, in flexual buckling the buckle will occur in whichever axis (x or y) has a greater (Ke)/r.  Obviously, right?

 

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