6 Things Every Part-time Student Can Do (Right Now) To Be Successful

Friendly, happy adult education students sitting in class.

Going back to school is a big commitment. And it can feel overwhelming at times. Below are 6 things that every part-time student can do to help manage the workload and be successful in their program.

  1. Learn to say “no:” Establish school as a priority and set boundaries. Let your friends and family know that you are in school and that you might not be available for certain events and activities.  Ask for their support and understanding.  You have made a commitment to your studies, and you are setting a good example for others by following through on your commitment.

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How Fast can the MBTA Go? The Future of Rapid Transit in Boston

The massive snows of 2015 have long since melted, but they did leave behind one, positive, long-term effect. The MBTA is finally getting the attention, and funding, it needs to bring existing rapid transit, trolley and commuter rail systems up to a “state of good repair.” As a result, a lengthy list of deferred maintenance will be addressed over the next several years, and the long-delayed Green Line extension to Somerville, 30-years in the making, is now fully under construction, with completion scheduled for 2022. Progress comes slowly with major transportation infrastructure in the Boston area. Continue reading

13 things you (probably) didn’t know about the 4th of July

If you will be spending this 4th of July with friends and family, you are not alone. Nearly 41 million Americans will spend the holiday at other people’s homes. As you gather around the grill, or are waiting for the fireworks to begin, you can impress your loved ones with these fun but little-known facts about this patriotic day:

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Haylee Bacik

The Future of Construction: Haylee Bacik (MSCM ’18) shares her insights

Part I of Haylee Bacik’s story can be found here: Hardhat and Mortarboard

Haylee Bacik has been called the “future of construction,” and a role model for young women who want to get into the industry. She recently received a Master of Science in Construction Management from Wentworth Institute of Technology and is currently employed by Gilbane Building Company as the lead project engineer on a $12 million expansion project in western Massachusetts.

Phil Hammond, Director of Graduate Programs in the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Wentworth Institute of Technology recently asked Bacik for her thoughts on the past, present and future of construction, particularly for young women. Continue reading

Haylee Bacik

Hard hat, mortarboard, softball cap: Haylee Bacik shares how she balances work, school, family and fun

To hear many of Haylee Bacik’s professors and colleagues talk, she is something of a superstar. A 2014 graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology, Bacik earned her Master of Science in Construction Management in 2018, while working full-time and keeping up with a busy social life. Along the way, she received numerous awards and accolades, including this year’s Dean’s Award from the College of Professional and Continuing Education.

But, like so many part-time learners, Bacik wears a lot of hats—full-time employee, student, family member, teammate. And she has faced her share of challenges. Still, she has managed to find time for the things she enjoys—softball, volunteering, and a cat named Bandit.

Below are excerpts from a recent interview with Bacik.

L/L: Tell us about yourself.

Bacik: I grew up in Lowell Massachusetts and attended Greater Lowell Technical High School where I fell in love with carpentry. I first came to Wentworth as an undergraduate because it offered the perfect blend of hands-on learning and real-world application that I wanted. Now, I am a Project Engineer at Gilbane Building Company. Being in the field and solving problems is something that I enjoy doing and that stems from my carpentry shop roots.

[Outside of work and school] I enjoy playing softball. When I was an undergraduate [at Wentworth] I was captain of the team and received the Sweeney Award. Currently, I play in a summer co-ed softball league. I also enjoy knitting, sewing, and all sorts of crafts. And I have traveled to some incredible places—Mexico, Jamaica, Ecuador, and Ireland—but would love to visit France, Africa, and Greece sometime.

And I have a cat named, Bandit.

L/L: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Bacik: When I was younger…I wanted to be a veterinarian. However, in high school, I fell in love with the carpentry trade [which] led me to my current path. In my spare time, I volunteer for the Lowell Humane Society where I help plan events and care for the animals in the shelter.

L/L: What was a typical day like for you while you were going to school?

Bacik: Balancing school and work is no easy task, but it can absolutely be done with good time management. Often, I would wake up very early in the morning, go to the gym, go to work all day, and then stay at work through the early evening until my homework was finished. Every week I planned what I would work on for homework each day based on the weekly deliverables. Chipping away at the work day by day is key, as weekends are never as free as you plan them to be.

L/L: What was the biggest challenge you faced? How did you solve it?

Bacik: The biggest challenge completing school while you are working full time is balance. The balance between work, school, your social life, family, and friends can be a real struggle. For me, it was making plans way ahead of time and fitting those planned events into my weekly schedule. There are going to be events and gatherings that you just won’t be able to attend. Knowing your limits and not stretching yourself too thin is so important, because making too many commitments is going to burn you out.

L/L: If you had to do it over again, what 3 things could you absolutely not do without?

Bacik: 1. A good, reliable laptop with a strong internet connection. (My classes were online)
2. A weekly/monthly planner. I used Outlook often to keep track of both work and school.
3. The support of my family, company, co-workers, and friends.

L/L: What is next for you?

Bacik: Post-graduation I have continued to work as a Project Engineer for Gilbane Building Company on a $12 million freezer/cooler expansion project in western Massachusetts. This is a great opportunity for me to learn about ground improvements, foundations, steel, and refrigeration systems as well as cost management. I look forward to gaining more field experience to further develop my career in project management.

L/L: Finally, If you were only allowed to post one Tweet what would it say?

Bacik: Be Kind. Be Driven. Be Humble.

a man and woman kneel next to a car with the Lowell Humane Society logo men and women pose on a softball field 

Check back for Part II of our interview with Haylee Bacik as she shares her thoughts on a career in construction management and the past, present and future of construction.

Additive Manufacturing: 3D printing grows up

Professor Chomyszak Additive ManufacturingAn interesting thing happened in my Computer Aided Manufacturing class recently.  In the spirit of EPIC—an initiative at Wentworth which promotes collaborative, interdisciplinary learning–this class combines engineering and industrial design students in mixed teams, taught by faculty from both disciplines who challenge students to employ engineering, design and manufacturing solutions.

During this particular session we were critiquing the concepts of each of the student teams and, as is customary at the early stages of the design process, the work that we were looking at consisted of conceptual sketches.  We asked the students to come to class the following week with prints which would reflect deeper thought and less ambiguity so that we could begin to focus our critiques on the details of their solutions.

Then it happened . . . “Professor? By prints, do you mean 2D prints or 3D prints?”  It occurred to me at that very instant that we were talking about removing ambiguity from their designs and yet the very word that we have used for years, “prints,” was suddenly ambiguous.

3D printing has become so pervasive and commonplace that we must now qualify what we mean when we use the word “print.”  For those of us in the engineering and design profession, this is no surprise and it is an indication that 3D printing is here to stay.  However, 3D printing is no longer just the little darling of the prototyping world.  It has grown up and has a new name: Additive Manufacturing.

In fact, not only does it have a new name, but it now has a newly approved, one semester, four credit course at Wentworth, Intro to Additive Manufacturing, dedicated to providing students with a useful foundation of knowledge and experience on which to build their careers.  Wentworth is one of a number of higher education institutions that is a member of the Stratasys Educational Customer Advisory Board (eCAB).  As a group we have worked together to create the curriculum, content, and examinations leading to a Level 1 Certification Exam in Additive Manufacturing.

According to McKinsey & Company, Additive Manufacturing is poised to have an economic impact of $100B – $250B per year beginning in 2025.  That’s right, somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter of a trillion dollars per year and 2025 is just around the corner.  In preparation for this, not only has Wentworth approved a new course (with more to follow), but it has committed nearly 2500 square feet of lab space and well over $1M of additive manufacturing equipment to be located in its new Multi-Purpose Academic Building scheduled to open in January 2019.

This lab will house equipment capable of printing in standard, engineering, and high-performance thermoplastics; continuous carbon fiber, Kevlar, and fiberglass composites; multi-material, multi-color photopolymers; metals and ceramics.  It will provide hands-on experience with FDM, PolyJet, SLA, SLS, MJF, sintering, and post-processing equipment.

Why is this so important to Wentworth?  As the opportunities for additive manufacturing continue to grow, so too will the demand for a knowledgeable and skilled workforce. A leader in education for the built environment, Wentworth wants to be proactive in meeting that demand and preparing students to actively participate in this important field with so many potential opportunities.

Here is a sample of the industries that are already being impacted and are taking advantage of additive manufacturing: Aerospace, Automotive, Consumer Products, Medical, Dental, Robotics, Pattern Making/Foundry, Injection Molding, Industrial Design, and Architecture.  The list goes on and is only limited by the number of creative people who have the knowledge base to apply all of this new technology.

The demand is growing, the time is right; be a part of it.

Oh yeah, we really meant 2D prints when we were speaking to the students.  The 3D printing comes a little later in the course.

Steve Chomyszak is an Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, at Wentworth Institute of Technology and has his Bachelor of Industrial Design from Syracuse University and his Master of Science, General Engineering from Stanford University.  Steve has 25 years of industrial experience designing, engineering, building, and testing unique positive displacement machines. He has been at Wentworth since 2012.

a few things (and people) facility managers should know!

Do you know what the top security threats for facility managers are? Would you like to reduce your energy operating costs? Are you wondering about ways to advance your education and your career in facility management?

Then come to the NORTHEAST BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES MANAGEMENT SHOW AND CONFERENCE, June 13-14, 2018 at the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center.

The Northeast Buildings & Facilities Management Show & Conference, now in its 13th year, features over 250 exhibitors displaying products and services necessary for the operation, management, maintenance and renovation of buildings and facilities in the greater New England region. Running concurrently with the trade show will be an educational conference featuring 22 individual one-hour talks covering a wide range of topics including: LEED, Green, Sustainability, Energy, Building Commissioning, Facility Maintenance, Construction and Renovation Planning.

For the third year in a row, the College of Professional and Continuing Education from Wentworth Institute of Technology will be among the exhibitors. This fall, Wentworth will launch (2) new degree programs: a Bachelor of Science in Facility Management (BSFM); and a Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM). The Bachelor of Science in Facility Management (BSFM) offers instruction which reflects the integrated nature of today’s FM environment and is designed to prepare students for professional careers in facility management for  in a wide spectrum of organizations. The new Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM) will help working FM professionals elevate their business acumen, strategic thinking and interpersonal skills, all within the context of an increasingly complex and strategically critical technical world.

There will also be a networking event on Wednesday, from 4:00pm – 5:00. Attendees & Exhibitors are invited to join all the Show Sponsors for drinks and hors d’oeuvre

The Northeast Buildings & Facilities Management Show & Conference brings together a wide range of trade associations including;

  • Association of Energy Engineers New England
  • Association for Facilities Engineering Region 8 New England
  • Building Commissioning Association – Northeast Chapter
  • Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts
  • BOMA Boston
  • Boston Society of Architects
  • Community Associations Institute – New England Chapter
  • IREM of Boston
  • National Fire Protection Association
  • USGBC – MA Chapter

With a mission to educate and inform, Northeast Buildings & Facilities Management Show & Conference serves varied markets and professions, for example;

  • Schools & Universities
  • Hospitals & Healthcare Facilities
  • Municipal & Government Buildings
  • Commercial Buildings
  • Hotels & Resorts
  • Shopping Malls
  • Manufacturing Facilities
  • Multi-Housing Complexes
  • Major Sports Facilities
  • Warehouses
  • Airports & Seaports
  • Worship Facilities

Whether you are exploring Smart Energy Tips for Facility Managers and Practical Action Steps to Reduce Your Energy Operating Costs; or are concerned about the Top Security Threats for Facility Managers;     or you want to learn about the basics of Commissioning Control Systems, the Northeast Buildings & Facilities Management Show & Conference is the place to be! Mark your calendars for June 13-14 and register at  http://proexpos.com/NEBFM.

5 Ways To Get Ahead in Your Career (without falling behind)

Earning a college degree is a great way to advance your career. According to the Georgetown Center for Education and Work, in most cases, more education results in more opportunities and higher pay.[1]

Often times, however, the time and expense of going back to school is great and can appear to outweigh the advantages. Degree programs take several years, and thousands of dollars to complete. Still, it is possible to gain the skills and knowledge you need to advance in your career without earning a degree and, more importantly, without falling behind on your other responsibilities.

Following are five things that you can do to get ahead in your career in less time and for less money than a conventional degree program.

1.Build Your Skills

There are a number of jobs that require the mastery and practical application of essential skills, jobs such as electrician, welder and machine tooling. Acquiring new skills, or improving ones you already have can help you to advance in your current job, or open the door to a whole new career.

As you think about your next steps, conduct an inventory of the skills you currently have and what is needed for you to take the next step.

  • Is there a skill you have that you would like to develop further?
  • Is there a particular technology that you need be trained in?
  • Is there a skill that you can develop to fill a unique niche in the market?
  • Are there any licensing exams you can take that will advance you to the next step in your career?

A workforce training and development program can provide you with the skills you need and prepare you to advance you to the next level in your career.

2. Show What You Know

There is a lot of talk these days about credentials. A credential let’s an employer know what knowledge and skills you have to offer. A bachelor’s or master’s degree is one way to earn credentials. But you can also earn credentials by completing a certificate program. And, unlike a bachelor’s or master’s degree, which can take many years, most certificates can be completed in less than one year.

Certificates are one of the fastest growing post-secondary credentials in today’s job market. When looking for a certificate program, look for one where the skills gained align with the requirements of the job you seek. Also, look for programs led by knowledgeable faculty, who are experts in their field. Their expertise will not only give you the knowledge you need, but will ensure that your program meets the latest industry standards. Finally, look for certificate programs that give you the skills you need right away,  as well as the skills you need for long-term advancement, skills such as communication, problem-solving and leadership.

Live and Learn

Adult learners are the fastest growing population on many college campuses. A number of colleges and universities have adjusted their program offerings to accommodate the needs and busy schedules of adult learners, many of whom are balancing work and family life along with school.

Convenient evening and weekend classes are just one example of the accommodations being made so that adult learners don’t need to take time off from work to return to school. Online and satellite locations make it possible for adult learners to learn where they live and work, which makes it easier to attend classes. And, finally, the creation of student cohorts, allows even online students to be part of a learning community that offers support and encouragement throughout.

Get Help

Perhaps one of the biggest roadblocks to returning to school is the high cost of tuition. Degree programs, even part-time, are costly. Workforce training and certificate programs, however, provide a way to earn the skills and credentials you need, at a lower cost.

When looking for a workforce training or certificate program, look for one that offers a payment plan. Some plans allow you to break down the cost of tuition into smaller, more manageable payments. Also, look for scholarship opportunities. While not as plentiful as for full-time degree, programs, there are a handful of scholarships that provide assistance to students in short-term training and certificate programs. Finally, many employers and organizations such as the VA and unions, provide tuition reimbursement, particularly if the skills and knowledge acquired will help you to advance in your career. An Admissions Counselor in the program to which you are applying should be able to help you locate sources of funding.

Make it Count

Many workforce training and certificate programs are not credit bearing. This means that while you might earn continuing education units (CEU’s), you will not earn credits that can be applied to a degree should you decide to pursue one down the road. With the current push towards preparing students not only for the immediate needs of the job market, but for long-term changes and fluctuations, many colleges and universities, now offer what they call “stackable” certificates. These are programs that, while they are valuable in and of themselves, can be counted as credits towards a bachelor’s degree down the road.  A stackable, or credit-bearing certificate, will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to enhance your career now, along with the credits you want to advance your education in the future.

Conclusion

To get ahead in today’s job market, you don’t need to make the long-term commitment of time and money to a degree program. Workforce training and certificate programs, many of which are offered at convenient times and locations, can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to get ahead, in less time and at a fraction of the cost of a degree. And, the right workforce training or certificate program, will not only help you take the next step in your career, it will open the door to a life of learning.

[1] Carnavale, Anthony, and Ben Cheah. “Five Rules of the College and Career Game.” Georgetown University, Center of Education and the Workforce, 2018.

Where will you be in 3 to 5 years?

Where will you be in 3 to 5 years?  If you have an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer networking or computer engineering you might be building networks and computers, or coding programs.  And, while you might find the work satisfying, you might be starting to wonder if there is something more; something with more responsibility and a higher salary.  Because, often times, even the very best programmers can find themselves stuck in a rut if they lack the managerial and project management skills they need to advance in their careers.

Undergraduate programs in technology don’t always provide basic managerial and project management training.  But, today’s project managers must learn how to manage people (team members and stakeholders), deliver projects on-time and within the constraints of a budget, which are skills that take time and experience to develop.

The discipline of project management teaches how to manage the triple constraints of scope, time and cost.  Project managers work collaboratively with their team and give them the vision of the project’s intended final outcome.  A project manager leads with a common project vision and empowers and assists their project teams, in order to make each team as effective as possible.

Could this be you? If you are ready to advance in your career, and you would like to develop skills that will complement your technical knowledge and experience, you might want to consider an advanced degree in project management. At Wentworth, our program includes courses  that are especially well-suited to those in a technology environment including Global and Virtual Project Management, Troubled Projects, Agile Project Management and Managing ERP systems.  Wentworth is proud to offer one of the only Master’s of Science in Project Management degrees with a strategic focus, which is strongly recommended by the Project Management Institute (PMI.)

Don’t wonder if there’s something more; do something about it, today.  And be sure to check back here in the coming weeks for a list of the 7 most important qualities you should look for in a Project Management degree program.

 

Hollis Greenberg, PMP, CSM is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management at Wentworth Institute of Technology.

 

 

 

How do you revolutionize building design and construction?

As a leader in education for the built environment, Wentworth Institute of Technology is on the leading edge of building innovation. We recently asked professor John Cribbs to share his thoughts on a significant innovation, Building Information Modeling, or BIM, which promises to revolutionize the ways buildings are designed, constructed, and maintained. 

 What is BIM?

Productivity in the construction industry is declining due, in part, to the continued reliance on traditional design and fabrication information typically found in two-dimensional drawings. While various sectors of the manufacturing industry have adopted the use of digital models for product design and fabrication, the construction industry is still heavily reliant on people, rather than computers, to read and interpret important data. In response to this, the AEC industry is becoming increasingly focused on Building Information Modeling, or BIM. Alternately defined as a process and as a digital object model, BIM is changing the way those in the construction industry understand and visualize a building from planning through final use, ultimately, improving productivity.

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) defines BIM as: a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such, it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable base for decisions during its life cycle.” Put another way, BIM describes tools, processes and technologies, that are facilitated by machine-readable documentation about a building, its performance, planning, construction and operation. Together, these varied parts create a Building Information Model, or interactive representation of a facility as it is designed or exists. Unlike traditional, 2d CAD drawings, and more advanced 3d CAD drawings, BIM combines the 3d CAD models with all the information required for designing, building and maintaining a facility.

The BIM Landscape

A shortage of skilled labor, along with shifts in supply-chain management and declining productivity have created a unique landscape for the growth of BIM in the AEC industry.  A recent study by McGraw Hill Smart Market Report, indicates that several factors, including the retirement of baby boomers, recession, and inadequate training for incoming workers have contributed to a significant labor shortage especially among specialty trade contractors, such as HVAC and the electrical trades. A similar study by the NIBS found that by the year 2020, the US will experience a shortage of nearly 1 million engineers.

At the same time, an increase in the use of technology in place of manual labor, greater process enhancement and project complexity have shifted traditional approaches to AEC supply chain management. Together with declining productivity, and the lasting impacts of the financial downturn of 2008, these changes have led to shifts in project management. Some in the industry have responded by reverting back to more traditional practices, relying on basic design, bid and build to win projects and recoup losses, while others have innovated new approaches to push the envelope in integrated knowledge-based project delivery. The purpose of this approach is to realize significant gains through shared expertise and knowledge, as well as the successful delivery of a project under budget and on an expedited schedule.

With the emergence of integrated teams, delivery methods for design and construction of facilities and supply-chain management techniques has come the growth of more transparent design and construction documentation methods, like BIM, which has been adopted at different rates throughout the AEC industry and building lifecycle.

The future of BIM

At Wentworth, the Miles and Eugenia Sweeney Department of Construction Management is committed to promoting these proven technologies through the introduction of a new physical lab/classroom space dedicated to integrated and interdisciplinary technology solutions. The new Bond Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Lab at Wentworth will provide students–from undergraduates, to part-time students, to corporate training partners–with access to state-of-the-art technology and expose them to tools and processes which are becoming AEC industry standard (many of which are BIM-centric). The lab offers a unique setting for cross-disciplinary education and is meant to foster a collaborative learning process which engages multiple academic departments as well as industry partners.

In the Bond Virtual Design and Construction Lab, students can expect to:

  • Experience how project teams and various disciplines understand and visualize building and infrastructure projects through the engagement of BIM;
  • Get hands-on training in various software tools to manage information used in the design, construction, scheduling, and budgeting processes which directly impact overall project outcomes;
  • Learn how to visually understand a project in multiple dimensions or phases with different objectives;
  • Develop the skills needed to advance in a successful career in the AEC industry.

Technology offers another layer in which to understand a building or infrastructure. The appropriate use of technology has been shown to save time and money, enhance stakeholder collaboration/communication, and create better overall project outcomes when compared with more traditional methods. As the AEC industry begins to adopt and embrace these innovative approaches to designing, constructing, and operating/maintaining our built environment, we challenge our students, and partners, to do the same.

About the Author:

Dr. John Cribbs is an Assistant Professor of Construction Management at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Dr. Cribbs earned his PhD in Construction Management from the Del E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University. His research focused on Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows for enhanced quality control and labor time utilization for coordinated MEP and specialty trade equipment, from design-to-install, in retrofit environments. Before joining Wentworth, Dr. Cribbs served as a Principal at Green Ideas Building Science Consultants, based in Phoenix.

References:
McGraw-Hill (2012). Construction Industry Workforce Shortages: Role of Certification, Training and Green Jobs in Filling the Gaps. SmartMarket Report.
ANSI (2007). National Building Information Modeling Standard. NBim, 180.