Aura Lee Harper-Smith

Aura Lee Harper-Smith

Major: Civil Engineering and Chinese and Japanese Studies                     Minor: None

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Tau Beta Pi – Member Oct 14, 2013 -Present, 2014 – Present Secretary
  • ACI Certified Field Testing Technician, April 2013
  • American Society of Civil Engineers – member, Aug. 2012 – Present
  • Campus Crusade for Christ – member Oct 2011-May 2012, Leader Aug 2012-Present, includes many community service and social justice projects
  • Spring Break Service trips (to Chicago, Nebraska) – March 2012, March 2013
  • Hesse Scholar and Tutor – Aug 2011-Present, Evening Supervisor Aug 2013 – Present

Honors and Awards:
Dean’s List recognition for every semester enrolled. • American Concrete Institute National Fellowship Winner, Mar. 2014. • Caterpillar Foundation Scholarship, Jan. 2014. • American Concrete Institute Indiana Chapter Scholarship, Mar. 2013. • The Dr. & Mrs. Ronald G. Schultz Endowed Scholarship Feb. 2013. • Valparaiso University’s Board of Directors Scholarship, C. V. Starr Scholarship, and the Herman and Helen Hesse Endowed Scholar Scholarship. Aug. 2011 – Present

CTLGroup, Skokie, IL July-August 2014, Position Held: Materials Group Intern: Modeled, Analyzed, Drew, Edited, and Wrote Thermal Control Plans for mass concrete. Helped batch, mix, and test trial concrete mixes, tests included ring, creep, and slump, etc.
Zhejiang University Architectural Design and Research Institute, Hangzhou, China May-June 2014, Position Held: Intern: Learned AutoCAD and converted architectural drawings to structural drawings in AutoCAD.  Learned about membrane roofs and the Chinese seismic code.
ASIANetwork Research Grant, Shanghai China June 2013, Position Held: Conducted Research in Shanghai, China:  Researched Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai, during WWII, translated papers, and conducted interviews.  I wrote a research article that is being published in the ASIANetwork Journal.
Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, Chicago, IL June to Aug. 2012, Position Held: Summer Intern in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology: Aided in the planning of the New IVF lab and the REI department remodeling plan. I also drew architecture layouts, create spread sheets, and compiled information into a feasible plan.

Research Interest:
I am interested in researching the properties of sustainable materials in concrete and how that affects structural design.

Favorite Quote:
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Blessed Mother Teresa

Prospective plan for after graduation:

I plan on attending Colorado State University for graduate school and earning my masters in civil engineering. After that I would love to work for an engineering design firm that has international connections as well as be involved in my community and in orphan relief.

My favorite memory from my time here at Valparaiso University does not directly relate to the academic part of the university. However, it does relate to the incredible communities that are built here. Last winter my then fiancé took me out to the dunes of Lake Michigan, on what I thought was just a date and proposed to me, it was beautiful. We then went back to my apartment for what I thought was just us having dinner, but when we got back all of our closest Valpo friends were there with a surprise engagement party ready. He couldn’t have planned it better and I later found out all the planning that they all did to make it possible. It meant so much to have them all there to celebrate with us because our friends here at Valpo are our family away from home.