Student Spotlights

Krista Seaman

Steel Buildings and Seismic Performance

krista seaman and children from ghana

Krista traveled to Kenyasi, Ghana in Summer 2013 to implement a community project.  She is now completing an undergraduate honors thesis. 

Krista Seaman is an architectural engineering senior with a focus in structural engineering. She is researching the role of gravity framing in the seismic performance of steel buildings. Her work aims to investigate the behaviors, demands and component capacities that contribute to the integrity of steel framing when critical members are damaged.

She is in the process of completing an undergraduate honors thesis.  

“It is very interesting to get involved in research; it is so different from learning in the classroom,” she says. “Rather than solving a problem given to you, you are essentially finding what problems need to be solved, then working on solutions for later generations to elaborate on.  It requires a lot of teamwork and self-motivation.”

During her sophomore year at UT Austin, she participated in Graduates Linked with Undergraduates in Engineering (GLUE) through the Women in Engineering Program (WEP).  She also served as president of UT’s Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) for the 2012-13 school year and in the years preceding, she was a freshman representative and secretary.  

“I decided to come to UT because we have one of the best architectural engineering programs in the country, plus I fell in love with Austin when I visited,” says Krista.

In Fall 2012, Krista was a teaching assistant for a Spatial Visualization course, which is part of the engineering curriculum. She was pleased to witness a majority of her students’ spatial visualization test scores increase from below average to above average.

Born and raised in Kansas, she was introduced to engineering in junior high. Her math and problem solving skills drove her to participate in engineering events at the nearby university.

Those experiences encouraged her to act as a mentor for the Student Engineers Educating Kids (SEEK) program.  In this role, she visited middle schools once a week to help students complete engineering-related projects while encouraging them to stay in school and pursue a higher education.

In addition to her engineering interests, she has a lifelong love of sports, which she hopes to integrate into her career. After graduate school, she would like to work for a structural engineering firmpreferably specializing in athletic facilities such as stadiums.  

Krista’s study abroad experiences also help shape her future goals. The Projects for Underserved Communities (PUC) course which led to her Kenyasi, Ghana had a particularly strong impact on how she views her engineering skill set. More information on PUC Ghana.

“I also plan to open a nonprofit organization that builds necessary structures, such as schools, in underprivileged countries,” she says.  “My focus will be in Spanish speaking countries (because I am becoming fluent in Spanish through UT courses and studying abroad in Spain) and in Africa (because I traveled there during the summer and fell in love with the community in Kenyasi.)”

Beginning in Fall 2014, she will serve as the President for the architectural engineering honors society, Phi Alpha Epsilon (PAE), and as the Vice President for Society of American Military Engineers (SAME),an organization of engineers that support or work for the military. She is also involved in the CAEE Undergraduate Advisory Board (UAB) and is a PAL (Peer Assistance Leader), mentoring first year women engineering students at UT Austin.