Build it. Dig it. Design it.


Created for the Department of Civil Engineering at UNH, this brochure was used as a recruitment tool for attracting new students to the program. The goal: create a new sense of energy for the program. The result? “Build it. Dig it. Design it. Whatever you do . . . . Make a difference.” Inside, along with information about the program, the copy featured three students with compelling stories, students who wanted to “make a difference.”

Designing a Future

Heidi Marshall has never been a Girl Scout. She’s never even been to camp. But recently she’s donated time and engineering expertise to help build a new Girl Scout camp on the edge of Gregg Lake in Antrim, New Hampshire. The challenge, says Marshall, a civil engineer who graduated from UNH in 1985, was to do the necessary building without destroying Camp Chenoa’s beautiful wooded setting. “The idea here is what you’d call ‘unobtrusive engineering,'” she explains. “You wind the road through the woods, rather than ripping straight through the landscape.” Marshall, New Hampshire’s Young Engineer of the Year in 1996, says her UNH education inspired her to get involved in community service. “The civil engineering department is a hands-on place,” she says. “You’re really encouraged to participate.”

Getting the Job Done

Bob Beasley knows a thing or two about landfills – how much they cost, how long they’ll last, and how much they’ll hold. He’s also learned something about construction crews – how to check their work and monitor on-site behavior. “I’ve learned a lot,” says the senior civil engineering major, describing his internship at an engineering firm in Portsmouth, N.H. “This is the most rewarding job I’ve had.” Beasley especially values the people skills he’s gained. “Everybody thinks of engineering as a science field,” he says, “but the social aspect of engineering is a big part of it. You have to be able to communicate.” Thanks to UNH’s civil engineering program, Beasley felt well prepared. “We have a lot of group projects,” he says. “You spend hours working with people you didn’t know before. You have to get along, you have to get the job done.”

Making Connections

There’s poetry in a beautiful bridge. Just ask Sheryl Wilson. “part of what you’re after,” she says, “is a longer span with fewer girders. This leads to a more elegant design.” Wilson is describing the advantages of high-performance concrete, carefully composed for strength and durability. The elegance, she says, is an added benefit. Wilson should know – since she helped build a bridge as part of her master’s thesis in structural engineering. A recent UNH undergrad, she stayed to do graduate work partly because she loves bridges. She likes using strain gauges to measure compression and tension on the concrete girders. She’s fascinated by the freeze-thaw cycle that can wreak havoc on bridge surfaces. And she loves to discuss camber and deflection. But more than the technicalities of bridge construction, Wilson loves doing something that matters. “From highways to drinking water – civil engineering affects everyone,” she says. “You feel like you’re doing something for the community.”

Building Foundations

Ever since childhood Dan Pass has been curious about how things work. “I’d see a road and wonder what was underneath,” he remembers. “I’d see a building and wonder what holds it up.” Today, as a geotechnical engineer in a large Atlanta firm, Pass knows that to answer these questions you have to understand soils. As a UNH graduate student, Pass spent a lot of time drilling holes in the earth. He took readings with a piezocone, a dilatometer, a pressuremeter, and a field vane, much like the students pictured above. He learned to interpret soil characteristics: strength, density, stratification, soil particle size, consolidation properties. “What I learned about these different testing devices was readily transferable to standard engineering practice,” says Pass, who values his professors as much as the technical expertise they shared. “I think often of their high standards of research and teaching. They’re real models for me.”

Ever wonder why they’re called Civil Engineers?

It’s not that they’re more polite than the rest of us. Civil engineers actually help to design, build, and maintain the structures of civilization: tunnels, buildings, bridges, dams, roads, airports, transit systems, drinking water and wastewater plants, solid and hazardous waste facilities. Projects that make a difference in our lives.


Excellence: The department excels in five areas: environmental, geotechnical, structural, materials, and water resources engineering. Our professors have won more than a dozen university awards for teaching and public service – as well as several Fulbrights.
Research takes our professors – and students – across the country and around the world, to Asia and Europe, India and South America. And students can spend a whole semester at universities in Budapest or Puerto Rico – a rare opportunity for engineering majors.
The UNH civil engineering program is for people who love to plan and to dream – people like Heidi and Bob, Cheryl and Dan. People who want to make a difference.

Get CIVIL-ized

For more information about the civil engineering program contact: The Department of Civil Engineering 
University of New Hampshire
, Kingsbury Hall, 
Durham, NH 03824-3591 
Phone: 603-862-1428 
 Fax: 603-862-2364
World Wide Web: