November 02, 2021
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Gonzaga’s students explored a large-scale light rail construction site and saw first-hand how a complex engineering project is carried out in the real world.
Civil Engineering majors Devin Franke (’25), Esme Nelson (’23), Matteo Schulz (’24) and Alexi Townsend (’24) visited the Seattle area as part of Beavers Student Day, a annual opportunity for construction executives to connect with future civil engineers at the site of an infrastructure project. This year’s project was the Linwood Link Extension, an $ 850 million expansion of Sound Transit that included five miles of guideway, four bridge structures, two stations and two associated parking garages.
John Bollier (of the John & Joan Bollier Family Center for Integrated Science & Engineering), far left, helped organize the event. He is the former CEO of the Stacy and Whitbeck railway construction company.
The students also heard from Gonzaga’s former student Nick Petersen (Civil Engineering, ’18), who works for Kiewit, another partner in the project.
Engineering students agreed that the experience fueled their passion for engineering. “It amazes me how precise everything has to be to have a beautiful, safe and successful transit line,” Franke said. “The process of attaching the steel rail was amazing to hear, and the size and amount of material used shows how complex it is for an idea on paper to become an actual structure. “
The students accompanying the trip were Dean of SEAS Karlene Hoo (in Red Helmet), Chair of Civil Engineering and Professor Rhonda Young, and Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Mark Muszynski.