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RE: Wind vs. Seismic Research for future job growth

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It will somewhat depend on what your interests are relative to structural engineering combination with where you think you might want to live eventually.  While it is true that those on the West Coast tend to be more focused on all things seismic and wind issues are usually secondary, I believe that when you start talking high rise buildings, wind will still usually govern over seismic many times.  Thus, I believe that if you want to go into high rise design (which is a very limited field of work considering how many high rises are done in general these days), then you might be better off focusing on the wind related issues primarily (i.e. stick where you are).
In the end, you need to determine what interests you from a structural perspective and let that dictate your choice.  If you really like wind design issues more than other issues, then you are likely best off to stay where you are.  If there are other aspects of structural engineering (say you are interest in masonry materials or wood based materials rather than loading side of stuff) that interest you more, then you might need to look at other schools that are more specialized in those areas.
And don't forget the practical side of things.  If one school is offering you a full ride (both tuition and a stipend) and another is not, then I am sure that will factor into the decision.  Of course, usually at the PhD level, all schools will be offering to pay both tuition and some stipend.  It might then come down to how that stipend differs from school to school in combination with the cost of living at that school (getting paid $500 a month in a city like Charlotte, NC is QUITE different then getting paid $500 a month in the San Francisco or LA areas).
Adrian, MI
-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Stone []
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 9:12 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Wind vs. Seismic Research for future job growth

Hello all,

I am a masters-level student at a growing Southeastern state school that has a rapidly expanding wind research program (primarily hurricane, but also wind in general). I intend to pursue my PhD, but really envision myself living on the west coast for the long term. Considering my interests are mainly tall buildings and perhaps ultimately academia, would it make more sense to move west ASAP, or to continue study here with research into aeroelasticity / dynamic aspects of structures?

The main reason I ask is that my thesis advisor (whom is trying to keep me here to study with him) keeps saying to me that almost all major structural firms have at least one engineer who has a wind-based background to help with structural aspects of tall buildings--I want some outside perspective on this, especially from those on the west coast!

Many thanks,

Michael Stone