Lyles School of Civil Engineering hires Sue Khalifah, P.E., S.E., as Student Experience Director
This summer, I took on the vital position of Student Experience Director at my alma mater, Purdue University. As with any role, it comes with many responsibilities, but my central duty is to recruit bright and motivated students into the Lyles School of Civil Engineering.
Thankfully, Purdue’s School of Civil Engineering and its more than 125 years of consistent excellence is a great selling point in its own right. The School has earned international recognition as one of the best places to learn, discover and engage in civil engineering. In fact, the Purdue Lyles School of Civil Engineering was recently named the #1 CE program in the world by ShanghaiRankings for 2016.
Of course, Purdue’s other engineering schools are prestigious as well – and to many students, those schools appear to have broader career paths. Therefore, one challenge I’m faced with is changing the conversation about civil engineering and informing prospective students about the myriad opportunities and the diverse array of career pathways that are enabled by a Civil Engineering degree from Purdue.
In my case, I am able to speak from experience. As a BSCE ‘99 Boilermaker with more than 15 years of professional and philanthropic experience related to civil engineering, I know firsthand just how crucial, impactful, and exciting the CE field of study really is. My work within the industry, focused on structural engineering of buildings of all types and sizes, allows me to speak to students with firsthand knowledge about civil engineering and its vast opportunities for individuals to engineer a better future for people and the planet. Additionally, as a licensed PE and SE, I will share the value of professional licensure for protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public.
Here at the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, we have – for instance – professors working with state and national organizations to revolutionize how we advance traffic safety, improve the quality of drinking water across the country, and rewrite how the U.S. prepares and responds to natural disasters.
And, yes, a number of our faculty are leading experts in civil engineering – offering creative engineering solutions that are integral to building and sustaining communities. Framed like this – that civil engineering is an opportunity to make a difference anywhere – creates a connection with our prospective students.
I’m learning that our students want to pursue a degree that will allow them to make an impact in the world when they graduate. Now – more than ever before – our infrastructure, our water, and our environment need new, passionate civil engineers to lead us to a new era.
It is such an exciting and fulfilling feeling, knowing I am working to increase exposure of and interest in the field of civil engineering for engineers of the future. I consider this position a true honor and I look forward to sharing future success stories.
Sue Khalifah, P.E., S.E.
This article was originally printed in the Sep/Oct 2016 issue of the Indiana Professional Engineer.