CSE senior Noah Struck ready to tackle everything from new transit systems to aging bridges

Q&A with a skier, musician, and future structural engineering leader

Noah Struck isn’t just a student who graduated this May from the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering (CSE). He is the recipient of two degrees—a master's degree this spring to compliment the bachelor's degree he earned 12 months ago—plus, a trumpet player in the marching band, a nordic skier, and a self-confessed introvert. 

Struck, who received the CSE Cyrus Scholarship, was enrolled in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s program, with an emphasis on structural engineering.

He has represented the University at the American Concrete Institute’s annual convention—most recently in New Orleans, where he met industry experts in concrete-related fields. As a peer assistant in the college’s Career Center, he hosted drop-in sessions answering questions such as where to find jobs and how to write cover letters.

In both the video and Q&A below, Struck shares his college journey—and how it has empowered him to push himself “a little further every single time.” 

How did you choose your major? 

Since middle school, I have been enthralled by applying technical skills in creative ways. My passion for bringing my ideas to life—for example, through 3D printing in high school— grew my interest in engineering. I was inspired to pursue a degree in civil engineering because of its practical application of science and mathematics.

How have you grown, since being at the University of Minnesota? 

I like to say that I'm an introvert in an extrovert's world. I've always had to push myself to be able to talk with people, to learn how to communicate with them, and to be a leader within a student group. So, it's been a great experience being part of all these different organizations at the College of Science and Engineering. I've had to push myself a little further every single time—going all the way from being the captain of the steel bridge team to the president of ITSO, and expanding my professional skills in collaboration, teamwork, and leadership. 

What student groups are you part of? 

 I'm part of the Steel Bridge team, where I was a captain in my senior year and build team lead in my junior year. As the build team lead, I got to work with a group of four to six students and figure out the best way to effectively build a scale-down model of a steel bridge. As captain, I got to run the meetings and lead everything from designing the bridge, brainstorming ideas on how to fabricate it, welding the bridge together, and then also building it for competition. 

I have also been the president of ITSO, which is our interdisciplinary transportation student organization and the professional events coordinator for ASCE, the American Society of Civil Engineers. For both groups, we bring in industry professionals for networking and talks. It’s good for students to hear what they do, and it’s a chance for local companies to engage with students at the U of M. 

Any activities outside your academic major? 

I have been a trumpet in the University of Minnesota Marching band for the past five years. This is a fun way to meet a whole bunch of different students and to make a lot of different friendships. You also get to go to some cool places, like Tampa and lovely Detroit! (Editor’s note: The Golden Gophers won the 2023 Quick Lane Bowl, beating the Bowling Green Falcons 30-24.)

I have also been the treasurer of the Nordic ski team, which has over 100 students. I've been in Nordic skiing ever since I was in first grade. So, it's been a great way to get involved with activity outside of CSE and to engage with students outside of my major.

What was it like working at the CSE Career Center? 

I worked as a peer assistant for about a year or so, and I gained a lot of professional development skills. I was able to work with different CSE students and student groups, and teach them everything from how to make an elevator pitch at our CSE Career Fair to how to write a resume and find a job in STEM careers.

What are your plans after graduation? 

I'm looking forward to being a fulltime civil engineer within Kimley-Horn—and specifically, to applying my skills as a bridge engineer. As an intern over the past two summers, I worked on a variety of projects. There was a structural analysis of roadside and overhead sign and light-pole structures, inspecting light-rail bridges for Metro Transit, and reviewing engineering documents for the Southwest Light Rail project. 

I even had the chance to work on bridge repairs since we have a lot of aging infrastructure in the U.S. and how to expand the lifespan of as many bridges as we can.

Story by Pauline Oo and Katelyn Mayne

Photo by Katelyn Mayne