The Utopia Management Scholars Fund Fall 2022

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Utopia Management Scholars Fund Winner Spring 2022

Haley McClanahan

Winner’s Home Town

Houston, Texas

College or University Attending

University of Texas

101 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, Texas 78712
United States

Utopia Scholarship Essay

As a Civil Engineering student at the University of Texas, I expected to learn how to
design, construct, and maintain infrastructure. During the past two years, my perspective has
changed substantially. Throughout my education, I’ve encountered multiple eye-opening
experiences. The University of Texas has exposed me to thousands of diverse students and
faculty coming from Texas and all around the world. Being introduced to and understanding
multiple points of views is essential for success in any field, especially in engineering. By
collectively using our background, knowledge, skills and education for a common goal, we can
improve the world around us. The world needs innovators that can make the world a better place
for the next generation. Sustainability and energy efficiency are increasingly important issues.
Working together, we can work towards a Utopian world.

In Civil Engineering, I’ve learned the importance of applying experience, learning and
teamwork to improve the world around us. My classes are teaching me the foundations of
engineering with a focus on designing infrastructure that is socially, environmentally, and
economically sustainable. One of my recent Civil Engineering papers analyzed many different
forms of sustainable concrete, including some that used recycled aggregates. These innovative
new concrete products will provide future environmentally friendly and energy efficient
construction materials. We have also researched and studied roof materials that contain UV
absorbing paint to reduce energy usage, and many other new construction techniques and
specialized materials that better protect the environment and minimize waste disposal. In
engineering labs, we take the theoretical lessons we learn in class and apply them to practical,
real-world projects. Last year, the University asked our civil engineering class to help design a
new civil engineering building on a plot of land on the Austin campus. It was very exciting to
apply our classroom knowledge and follow the engineering process for a hands-on project. We
started by interviewing students to see what amenities and features they would like in a new
engineering building. Additionally, we researched structural, drainage, and disability codes for
the City of Austin and The University of Texas campus. We physically surveyed the land,
designed the foundation and structure of the building, and developed a drainage plan that had a
positive environmental impact on campus including a nearby creek. These engineering courses
prepare students for a successful professional engineering career and instill the passion and drive
needed to innovate and create positive change for our future.

Civil Engineers push the envelope of current thinking and technological know-how of the
time. With emerging technologies, engineers help develop new products and materials that have a positive effect on humanity, improving the world around us. Throughout time this has held
true, with projects like the Hoover Dam, a huge civil project that harnessed a large waterway,
generating electricity and preventing flooding. Continuing forward with exciting innovations
today, such as freeways and sidewalks that generate electricity by vibration, and skyscrapers that
oscillate and can generate power, new sources of energy are within sight. The future holds so
many more great improvements in sustainability, energy efficiency, and economic gains. We can
only dream towards the next innovations, improving quality of life towards a Utopian world. I
truly believe that my civil engineering degree will provide the education I need to serve others
and make the world a Utopia.

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