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Guest Blog by Adel ElSafty

Professor Adel ElSafty Looks Back at His PCI Studio Experience at University of North Florida

Five years ago I was honored to receive a grant to start a PCI Foundation Studio at the University of North Florida School of Engineering. It was a great blessing and gave us a great push forward for the engineering curriculum at the UNF in Jacksonville, Florida. As a result of that, we have had about 150 graduates and undergraduate students learn about

precast concrete through and I have had 15 grad students go through the program. We had a number of undergraduate students start this first as an independent study course, and then it became an elective course and now we are in the process of making this a required course.

Out of the 15 graduate students we had, seven of them are already placed in jobs that needed someone with knowledge of precast/prestressed concrete. This is something the students are very happy with.

Our third success is that we engaged the community in Jacksonville and Orlando to come as guest speakers. They came first for the students and then for the community. We had this magnet of consultants, academics, guest speakers, students, and the community to engage in discussions about precast/prestressed concrete. We invited guest speakers from across the US to train students and engineers in Jacksonville, Florida.

Our fourth success for the development of faculty. I received my tenured professorship during these five years which was fantastic. So now I can focus more on how after our five years are over will we make the program sustain and be more self-sufficient without any funds needed. This program is going to start working over and over. The courses are already in the curriculum, students will be working closely with a consultant and the fabricators are willing to help. So that kind of relationship will help us sustain the momentum.

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