Midterm Revision: A Look at the ASCE Student Chapter at CCNY

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Posted on 29 Apr 2013 17:55

TO: Andrew Lucchesi
FROM: Nelsyda Perez
DATE: 29 April 2013
SUBJECT: Midterm Revision Proposal

As the discourse analysis research lead to a less than satisfying conclusion, I feel that changing the purpose of my research would result in a more concrete conclusion. In my midterm assignment I planned to evaluate the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as a whole and make a decision as to whether or not the group was worth joining. Now, I plan to look at how the society and what role it takes in one’s undergraduate experience in college.

The Midterm

There were a good number of problems that arose during my discourse analysis research. One of the problems that came up was the lack of specific information about the ASCE. All the information that I gathered was rather general and did not help in making a solid evaluation. I was also unable to interview anyone about the society just because the Executive Board members of the ASCE Student Chapter at City College (ASCE-CCNY) are students and they have student obligations that render them inaccessible. Plus students apparently don’t check their emails. Another problem that came up during my research was unclear information. For instance, I learned from my research that a prerequisite for membership in the national chapter of the ASCE is membership in the ASCE Student Chapter at your school (in this case, ASCE-CCNY). I also learned that membership in the ASCE-CCNY costs $5 per semester. What I do not know is what is the latest time for someone to sign up. It is also unclear as to whether or not the national ASCE checks if you were a member of the ASCE at your school.

These problems that came up are important to my research because this discourse community is meant to appeal to prospective civil engineering students, an audience that I myself am a part of. Of course, I have to take into account the time restraints that I had to wrestle with, but even with the time restraints I should have at least been able to gain access to something substantial about ASCE-CCNY. After all, this is related to my potential long-term career goals as well as the long-term goals of other prospective civil engineers.

Revision Overview

With the research problems laid out and the reason for my concern clearly determined, I plan to revise my midterm by observing what exactly does the ASCE have to offer for undergraduate students in general. I already have two sources that list the different benefits that ASCE-CCNY has to offer. Through this I will answer questions relating to the uniqueness of the resources. Can the benefits received by being a member of ASCE-CCNY be received through easier and more accessible means? Because ASCE-CCNY stresses that they work towards professional development and one’s career as a civil engineer I will most likely compare the resources that ASCE-CCNY provides with the resources of let’s say the CCNY Career Center that is open to anyone.

I will also look at the two main clubs that the ASCE-CCNY is responsible for creating: the Concrete Canoe club and Engineers Without Borders (EWB). Making clear observations of the club activities will allow me to gain an idea as to what the purpose of ASCE-CCNY is. How does each club’s main purpose correlate with the main purpose of ASCE-CCNY? Answering this question will resolve some of the conflict relating to the specifics of the society. One way I will look at the clubs is to look at Yipeng Luan's Discourse Analysis of the Concrete Canoe club. This resource available to me from this course site will give me a detailed explanation of the Concrete Canoe club, leaving all the heavy duty findings to observing EWB.

Lastly, in relation to the observation of the Concrete Canoe club and EWB, I will look at student involvement in those clubs. How many new people, specifically freshmen that are considering going into civil engineering, decide to join and attend the meetings that are held? How many members are actually heavily involved in the clubs? Whatever observations I get from these questions will yield interesting results. It might result in a need to improve student involvement. It might also reveal how students are indirectly involved with ASCE-CCNY as both of these clubs are branches of the ASCE-CCNY.


The main audience that will benefit from my revised research is a group of freshmen from CCNY that are considering working towards a degree and a future career in civil engineering. Because this is the most naïve group in terms of how to further your civil engineering studies and how to get a job as a civil engineer, prospective freshmen civil engineers would be the most interested in knowing more about ASCE-CCNY. This is also ASCE-CCNY’s own target audience, supposedly. So either sparking interest in the society or even seeing how useful it is for freshmen might give me the conclusion that I was missing in my midterm project.

Overall, it seems like a lot for a revision, but in actuality it is a simplification of my original methodology from my midterm. For one, I am not looking at the ASCE as a whole. I am only focusing on the student chapter. I am also planning on not looking at the ASCE as a discourse community. I am planning on seeing what the resources of the group are. In the end, I will gain a better idea as to what the ASCE means to me and the freshman prospective civil engineers.

Thank you for reading my proposal.

Nelsyda Perez

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