Chelsea Henderson

Chelsea Henderson


Civil Engineering

My focus in civil engineering is Earthquake and Coastal Engineering.

I attended BRIDGE the summer of 2012. BRIDGE is a five week intensive summer program designed to prepare underrepresented student for the engineering curriculum at UConn. This program helped in the harsh transition to college from a technical high school. I graduated high school without ever taking a midterm or final exam. Technical schools at the time only did district wide trimester assessments. So this program helped me get used to the different aspect of exams, as well as the accelerated pace of the course work.

I have found coming from a technical high school is a much different experience then coming from a public school when you arrive at college. We are more technical based then academic based which makes the first couple of years harder as we go through the required classes. However, once we go into our more core classes where we have hands on projects, that is where we soar. My experience at Grasso with CADD helped me go above and beyond in my core engineering classes and senior design project. My internship during tech school with Electric Boat has also helped me stand out to recruiters for internships.

My favorite class taken so far would be Water Quality Engineering (CE 3220) With Baikun Li. She kept the class interesting and integrated field trips so the class could see first hand the applications of what we had been learning. She was also there for any student who needed help and reached out. I have found that the professor’s attitude is a key component of student learning.

For internships, I worked at COWI Marine North America, Inc. in a North America branch, focusing on coastal engineering  in Trumbull, CT during the summer of 2015. I got the job through a department wide email that was sent out to civil engineering students. These emails are constantly being sent out as a resources for students to find jobs or internships. At COWI I was able to develop a passion for coastal engineering and am now taking my passion further with research under Wei Zhang here at UConn. My research involves wind loads on gabled roofed houses. COWI also sponsors a senior design project for civil engineers which I am the team leader for. The team is designing an elevated house in the Milford area coastline. My specialties for this project include earthquake and flood/wave loads.

I will also be interning at Tata & Howard in Waterbury, CT, for summer of 2016. Tata & Howard is a specialized water, wastewater, stormwater, and environmental services consulting engineering firm. During my interview, the interviewer expressed that my experience with AutoCAD, and the fact that I am pursuing my own unique passions put me above the rest of the candidates. They expressed that they look for people who “can wear many hats.” I am excited to work there this summer.

For activities, I am part of Husky Ambassadors. I volunteer for every open house UConn has and also do Husky-for-a-Day; a program where a potential husky shadows me for a day. It gives the students a better feel of UConn and I love seeing my Huskies here the following year as Engineering students.

I am also part of Engineering Ambassadors, a club funded by United Technologies. I have participated in the clubs activities such as reaching out to middle school’s robotics clubs, holding the annual Science Bowl, and holding the annual Rube Goldberg Competition with the technical high schools in the area.

I am Vice President and Secretary of U-Con at UConn Board of Directors. A club devoted to organizing and holding the annual multi-genre convention here on campus.

I am graduating December 2016 and as I look back on my years here at UConn, I am grateful. All of these experiences I have gone through, all of this knowledge I have obtained, is thanks to the help of this scholarship. This scholarship has made it possible for me to attend UConn. It has made it possible for me to take my life and make something great of it. I will be the first one in my family to graduate college and it is a wonderful achievement.

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