November 13, 2012 12:00AM
For Shontae Cobb, a sophomore in PSU’s School of Construction, class lectures only teach so much. The real education begins when she can “get my hands dirty.”
Cobb, from Kansas City, Mo., and her fellow construction management schoolmates got the chance to do just that on Saturday, Nov. 10, when they took part in a tilt-up construction workshop at the Kansas Technology Center.
Tilt-up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., according to the Tilt-Up Concrete Association. At least 10,000 buildings enclosing more than 650 million square feet are constructed annually.
“This is one of the reasons PSU has such a great technology program,” Cobb said. “At some bigger universities, we may not get a whole lot of hands-on experience. I love that at PSU, our instructors make us do labs and they allow us to get out here and get our hands dirty. We’re getting a real-life, hands-on experience.”
Pitt State conducted its first tilt-up workshop in November 2011. Seth O’Brien, assistant professor in the School of Construction, said PSU was the first university in the nation to conduct the tilt-up activity. O’Brien said the workshop teaches a variety of skills and incorporates lessons from many of the students’ courses, from theory of structures to safety.
“We go through all of the management skills within our class,” O’Brien said, “but by coming out here and seeing the practical side of it and putting the man hours to the items, the students can actually see in person the skills they are learning. Once they get this applied side to it, it helps make those things we’re discussing in the classroom click a little bit and it makes them a little bit easier to understand.”
John Donham, a sophomore construction management major from Joplin, said this type of activity better prepares the students for the professional world.
“Everyone here is going into construction management and will have limited field time,” Donham said. “Being able to work and perform these operations at the university gives you a better perspective on how the work is done, so when you get to the companies, you’re not lost.”
For more information on PSU’s School of Construction, visit http://www.pittstate.edu/department/construction/.