News & Features

UT Austin SAME - Distinguished Student Chapter

group of students around computer on cinderblocks with tape measure, drill and other tools surrounding

SAME members viewing video results of a blast test during a field trip organized by the group.

May 21, 2014

The University of Texas at Austin student chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) was recently named a Distinguished Student Chapter. Only 14 of the 56 SAME student chapters have received this designation. The chapter, only two years old, has 22 students, many of whom are CAEE students.

The award requirements include hosting an event that promotes mentoring on career options, hosting or participating in a K-12 outreach, hosting a college level event or competition, and or completing a community service project. The chapter’s nomination describes three events: a testing facility field trip, UT Explore activity and community service project.

A field trip and networking dinner was held in November 2013. Participants visited ABS Consulting testing facility in Converse, Texas. The facility was selected for its unique capabilities in the areas of explosion effects and blast resistant design. The highlight of the tour was a demonstration of the company’s shock tube testing. The shock tube is an instrument to simulate explosions and their effects. The participants observed a test of an 18-gage steel, 1 ½- to 2-hour fire-rated door being tested for a petro-chemical company. Company representatives showed and explained video results, analysis, and samples from previous tests.

The UT Austin chapter also hosted an activity for Explore UT, an annual open house event for K-12 students in March 2014. The activity, "Demolition of Floating Bridges," challenged students to build their own balsa wood floating bridge and perform a simple load test to determine its strength. Approximately one-hundred K-12 students participated.

For their community service project, the group participated in "trail remediation" on National Public Lands Day (NPLD) in Russell Park near Georgetown Lake in Georgetown, TX, in September 2013. NPLD is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Applicable engineering contributions included construction of a retaining wall.

Professor Eric Williamson, SAME faculty advisor, says, “It’s good to get recognized for the hard work that has gone into establishing a new student chapter at UT.”