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Laying the Foundation for Tomorrow's Engineers

Saint Anselm alumnus Jason McCormick is a civil engineering professor at the University of MichiganNow a civil engineering professor at the University of Michigan, Jason McCormick took the first steps towards his career right here at Saint Anselm College. He graduated from Saint Anselm and Catholic University of America in 2000 and received a degree in cooperative engineering with a focus in civil engineering. As a freshman, Jason was pretty confident engineering was the career for him. However, at most schools, simply wanting to be an engineer is too broad a choice. That's the advantage of the Saint Anselm 3-2 program.

"I knew I wanted engineering but one of the benefits of the 3-2 program was that I didn't need to know what direction I wanted to go into," says Jason. He felt much more comfortable not having to make his decision right away and it wasn't long before he started to lean towards civil engineering. "I looked towards civil engineering because you're dealing with things that are a part of everyday life: structures and roadways. I also liked the aspect of dealing with big structures."

Civil Engineering
Now his research interests are in the general area of earthquake engineering, extreme load mitigation, and structural response reduction through innovative systems. He does a lot of work with steel structural systems and the use of steel tubes in structures.

Tutoring and Research: Path to Teaching
While an at Saint Anselm Jason was a student tutor to math and physics students and enjoyed the teaching involved in that activity; the first sign that a future in teaching was a possibility. As Jason began the second portion of the 3-2 program at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. it was clear to his professors that he had skills that his peers lacked. Jason asserts that his ability came from a Saint Anselm's liberal arts curriculum.

"The liberal arts helped me in my ability to think critically about things and write well," says Jason. The faculty recognized his talent and asked him to help with their research.

He then began his second internship at The State University of New York at Buffalo working as a research assistant for the structural engineering program. This experience paired with his writing ability pushed him into being a structural engineer.

As a professor of civil engineering at the University of Michigan he enjoys the freedom his position brings. "Being a professor gives me the opportunity to be involved in both teaching and research," Jason says.

With professors like Jason teaching the engineers of tomorrow the future of the field looks very bright.

Photo: Jason in a 2nd grade elementary school class where he is annually conducts an outreach workshop on civil engineering and bridges.

Story written by Michael Morse '14