Every year, Simpson Strong-Tie awards scholarships to students in the fields of engineering, architecture and construction management to help them on their educational journey. The company also flies all the scholarship winners out to Northern California to spend a whole week learning about the construction industry, Simpson Strong-Tie, and more. This year was no different. Scholarship recipient and engineering student Robert Inman discusses his first-hand experience on the trip and the wealth of knowledge he accumulated.
Hello, my name is Robert Inman. I am a senior civil engineering student specializing in structures at Washington State University. Ever since I was a kid, I was always fascinated with huge skyscrapers, bridges, and highways. Naturally, this led me to pursue civil engineering as a career. I have had the opportunity to intern with a public works department as well as a private design firm these past two summers. They were both great experiences, and I look forward to learning more about the industry in the years to come!
Last December, I had a counselor approach me about a scholarship opportunity with Simpson Strong-Tie. He invited me to apply and informed me that Simpson Strong-Tie was a great company to connect with! Once I was familiar with what the company does, I applied and was lucky enough to receive the scholarship. To my surprise, Simpson Strong-Tie supplemented the scholarship with a five –day, all- expenses-paid trip to the Bay Area!
On this trip, we were able to tour the Tye Gilb Research Laboratory and manufacturing plant where products are produced and tested. This was an eye-opening experience and I learned more than I could imagine for one day.
We were also able to visit an active jobsite and see the Simpson Strong-Tie products in action. One of the biggest lessons taught was the idea of load paths. This essentially says that the weakest part of a structure must be tied to the strongest part. It was fascinating to see these concepts right in front of my eyes. Next semester, I am taking a class dedicated to this concept of load paths, and I’m sure having seen it in person will help me in the classroom this fall.
Along with this, we were able to listen to many knowledgeable guest speakers, build benches for Habitat for Humanity homes and even tour Alcatraz and Pier 39! All these experiences were not only extremely educational but also fun and exciting.
My favorite part of the trip was the networking opportunities. Meeting all the great people at Simpson Strong-Tie was truly a pleasure. My group leaders for the trip were Angel and Dave, and they were amazing! They both had immense knowledge about the industry and were very happy to share! They were both extremely accommodating, and we shared many laughs and jokes over the week as well. Along with the amazing Simpson Strong-Tie staff, being able to meet 56 other students from all around the country was a unique opportunity. Everyone had their own knowledge and experiences that were interesting to hear about. It was great to connect with people from all different walks of life and I am glad to say that I made not only new connections but new friendships.
This whole experience was truly surreal, and I cannot thank Simpson Strong-Tie enough for the opportunity. This trip will have a profound effect on my career and understanding of the industry in the years to come. The lessons I learned and the friendships I made will stay with me for the rest of my life. Hopefully in the future, I will be able to share this knowledge with later generations as the same way Simpson Strong-Tie did with me. If there’s one word of advice I could give to any student considering engineering as a career, it would be to stick with it. There are going to be some tough times and lots of hard work, but it is truly the most rewarding industry in the world.
Learn more about the 2022 scholarship trip and the students who attended on our Building Strong Blog.