Where are you from?
I’m from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. but was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Why did you choose UB?
I chose UB for its neverending opportunities: its nationally ranked engineering program, the affordable price tag for an excellent education, its renowned Student Association and highly reputable student clubs, the brisk winter weather perfect for skiing and ice skating, that its close distance from home but not too close where parents can make a sporadic visit, AND its persistent geese population that always leave gifts on the bottom of your shoes. UB provides its students with the quality of a large school but the feeling of a small, close-knit campus.
What do you like most about engineering at UB?
I thoroughly enjoy the family-like feel of all engineering students at UB. Coming into college I was extremely nervous about not succeeding in engineering, but UB eased those doubts by providing abundant opportunities to its engineering students such as the engineering first year interest floor, similar schedules for students in related disciplines, small group tutoring sessions, Engineer Alley tailgates, and clubs and organizations such as my very own ASCE (American Society for Engineers) and Theta Tau, the fraternity for engineers. Consistently seeing these familiar faces makes you realize that you're in the same boat as many other students. It fosters creating strong bonds and helping one another, which is the surefire way to enjoy and succeed during your time as an engineering student.
Why did you choose to go into engineering?
I chose to pursue engineering partially for the same reason that every engineering student says: "I excelled in math and science in high school." For me the other part of the answer is that since childhood, I’ve had a keen interest in urban structures. Ever since moving to New York, I've been fascinated by skyscrapers, overlapping highways and suspension bridges. I've also gained interest (and concern) in our changing environment, sustainability and natural disasters. What better way to incorporate all these career facets than by studying civil engineering?
What is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus is the one and only Bert's. There’s nothing like grabbing chicken finger subs or falafel in between classes with your best buds.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on the American Society of Civil Engineers concrete canoe project as the concrete mix design leader. The goal is to design the strongest and most efficient concrete through numerous tests of various aggregates, admixtures, and applications. Once the concrete is poured, we will spend the next couple of months fabricating its finishing touches through sanding and coating, finalizing our design paper and presentation, and creating a hot air balloon-themed stand to hold the canoe. We will be competing in canoe races with other schools at the ASCE Regional Conference at Rochester Institute of Technology at the annual competition in April.
What else do you do on campus?
I am currently the community service chair for ASCE and an active brother in the professional development committee of the engineering fraternity Theta Tau. I organize volunteering events such as Habitat for Humanity construction builds and sponsored American Red Cross blood drives. I also critique members' resumes and organize company tours such as concrete plant visits. The goal in both these organizations is to better improve yourself and your fellow members all while making a positive impact on your community.
What have you done that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of landing my third internship before my senior year. Being eager as a freshman by perfecting my resume, networking outside of the classroom, and applying to dozens of companies really paid off. Having the hands-on experience outside of academia taught me a tremendous amount about both industry and the civil engineering discipline. Securing these experiences early on will hopefully give me a leg up on the competition when it comes to applying for full-time jobs upon graduation.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about most things outdoors such as hiking, skiing, tanning, travelling and Super Smash Bros.
What are your future plans?
After college, I plan to empty my bank account by travelling the world. I have yet to explore Europe, Australia and the Western U.S., which are all on my bucket list. Skiing the Alps, picking up a new language, trying new things, and exposing myself to unique cultures are all adventures I aim to partake in. Of course, hopefully by then, I will have secured an entry level position as a structural design engineer or a field construction engineer at a reputable company.
What is your advice to prospective engineering students?
Don't take your four years of undergrad for granted. Immerse yourself in everything and anything. Be open to all opportunities. Hesitant about attending that first club meeting? Go for it. Terrified about taking that mandatory class? You got it. Nervous about going out with a new group of friends? Try it. Before you know it, time will fly by and the last thing you want is regret for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities of college.
Wakil Pranto received a scholarship from the Richard E. Garman Endowment Fund.