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Maissoun Ksara

B.S./M.S. Civil Engineering
Maissoun Ksara

Hometown:  Casablanca, Morocco

Current School Year: Junior

Anticipated year of Graduation: 2018

Major: B.S./M.S. Civil Engineering (Structural Concentration)

Please describe your study/research interests and why.
Growing up in a developing city like Casablanca has opened my eyes to urban development, the construction industry, and the need for strong, durable infrastructure in our communities.  I grew fascinated by large, intricate structures and transportation systems after seeing projects progress on a daily basis.  However, many of these projects lack structural soundness and are constructed in a non-sustainable way.  It is common to see infrastructure degrade over time, and structural health-monitoring is not a priority.  I am interested in structural design using sustainable construction practices, including researching new sustainable construction materials.

Please describe your co-op experience. Include where you worked, a brief description of your duties, and what you learned.
I completed my first co-op at Sunoco, Inc. where I was a project estimating engineer.  I learned valuable project management and tracking skills, which introduced me to the "behind the scenes" of a construction project.  It was very interesting to see how civil engineering overlaps the oil and gas industry.  This co-op taught me how to perform cost estimates of various construction, gas pump installation, retrofit, new design, and retail engineering projects of Sunoco A+ convenience stores across the nation.

My second co-op was at Jacobs Engineering where I worked as a civil/highway engineer.  My work included the design of highway profiles and cross-sections, new ADA ramps, and erosion and sediment plans for PennDOT, the City of Philadelphia, and the PA Turnpike.  I learned many skills using software such as Microstation and AutoCAD Civil 3D.  Additionally, I assisted with traffic and transportation projects located in New York City and Georgia.

Please describe any extracurricular activities that you participate in.
I am actively involved with the Drexel chapter of the Society of Women Engineers where I have been an officer for the past three years as the Public Relations Director.  I am also involved with the Mid-Atlantic region Society of Women Engineers as the region Collegiate Communications Editor.  I am an officer for the Drexel American Society of Civil Engineers as a past Outreach Chair, and current Events Coordinator.  In addition, I recently joined the Steel Bridge Team and will be involved in designing a steel bridge for the upcoming competition.

Please explain more about what you intend to do as you further your studies and afterwards.

As I continue my B.S. and M.S. studies, I am still deciding on whether to pursue a career in research or in the industry.  I would like to choose the path that best leads me to fulfilling my goals and interests in sustainability in infrastructure using sustainable construction materials, whether it is through research opportunities or working in a company.