One hundred percent job placement with starting salaries of $50,000-$70,000 is enough to attract nearly any college student to an academic major. The construction science program within the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science provides its students with experiential learning opportunities, internships, and a rapidly growing academic program.

In the last five years, what started as a pilot program has blossomed into a powerful and exciting program for CASNR students. Just in the last two and a half years, the number of construction science students has increased from around thirty to about 110. This growth is driven largely by industry professionals who see value in these students and the faculty who are passionate about educating their students to be the best candidates for their future careers.

Ethan Greer, senior and president of the Construction Science Club, proudly explains that the construction science program’s curriculum was developed by professionals in the construction industry who have invested their time and money into this program. The key concepts identified by these industry partners have been incorporated into a curriculum that is designed to give students the maximum exposure to the practices used in the industry throughout their four years at the university.

With a dynamic and evolving curriculum, many of these industry partners are eager to help educate these students. Charlie Parker, director of the construction science program, works with many adjunct faculty members who are leaders in their fields to teach the students. Professionals see this program as a valuable resource for their companies’ future success, and they are willing to bring their knowledge and ideas into the classroom.

Josh Bickel, junior and president-elect of the Construction Science Club, comments on the applicability of the things he learns in the classroom: “Everything you learn in the classroom can be applied in the field, and it is easy to make that connection as a student.” Bickel goes on to say, “We have the best faculty. People in this department truly go above and beyond for us.”

All these perks and experiences come with a price tag, but luckily for the students, much of the funding for this program is provided by the same industry partners that developed and help teach the curriculum. These industry partners have invested time and money into creating strong candidates for positions in the industry. Many of them have been coming to campus to recruit students for jobs, but this year, forty-four of them visited campus to hire these candidates for full-time positions and internships across the country. These efforts are noticed by students. Greer says, “With all these companies investing in us and our education, I strive to be the highest quality candidate I can be for their positions.”

In addition to career fairs and hands-on learning in the classroom, construction science students find abundant opportunities in internships. Most of them spend the summer between their sophomore and junior years in a labor-intensive internship to gain insight into the physical work that goes into construction projects. The following summer, most of them intern on the management side of those projects. These internships allow students to gain a holistic understanding of working on a project from the blueprint to a map dot.

Internships, experience, applicable curriculum, and jobs are all things that construction science students are enjoying. With the number of their peers increasing, these students can only expect great things to come. More jobs, more internships, and possibly a major all their own could be in the future. Charlie Parker is proud of the direction and growth of this program but is concerned that his students are outgrowing his faculty almost too quickly. Nonetheless, he and his colleagues continue to give the students every opportunity to grow and are confident that the needs of the students will be met continually no matter their number.