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UC October Engineer of the Month connects construction to community

Architectural engineering student serves the community by making the most of her major

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Engineer of the Month of October, Savannah Swisher (architectural engineering ’19), is committed to community engagement. She initially chose architectural engineering at the University of Cincinnati because it gave her an outlet to serve others.

Swisher spent her most recent cooperative education (co-op) rotation with Model Group, a property development, construction and management company that invests in urban revitalization projects. “Model Group really focuses on community development, and that has really helped me get excited about my career,” says Swisher.

Swisher is currently splitting time between classes at UC and work with Model Group, working on a multi-building renovation project in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. She’s enjoyed seeing firsthand the impacts a company can have on a city. 

Finding her fit

UC’s architectural engineering program is the only such program in the Ohio. Swisher saw the program as a unique opportunity to blend art with math. Her uncle is an architect, and after picking his brain about the field, she knew she wanted to do something more hands-on. Since declaring her architectural engineering major, she hasn’t looked back.

“I have fallen in love with the ability to use creativity and problem solving while also exploring the technical side of the field, like MEPs [mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems] and structures of a building,” says Swisher.

On top of letting her explore her passion for community engagement, UC’s co-op program has let Swisher grow as a professional, exposing her to multiple aspects of a diverse field. On co-op, she has worked both in an office setting with layouts and designs and in the field. At Model Group alone, she’s had the opportunity to wear multiple hats, serving as a project supervisor, assistant project manager and project engineer on various projects.

“Being able to experience design without being committed to a full time job there really helped me decide that I am not cut out to be in an office all the time,” she says. “And being able to have field experience has helped me manage people and projects better.

“I can safely say if I had not co-oped, I would still be clueless about what I want to do in my future.”

Class, co-op and community

Swisher on site laughing

UC October Engineer of the Month Savannah Swisher learned the value of community on co-op with Model Group. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing.

Each Engineer of the Month is nominated by a faculty member. These nominated students must demonstrate “excellence in the classroom, success in their co-op assignments and leadership through extracurricular activities on campus and/or in the community.” In other words, these students have found the balance needed to be leaders and exemplary scholars. 

“Through her coursework, co-ops, and other activities, Savannah has demonstrated a love for the construction industry, a drive to seek out new challenges and experiences, and a commitment to her community,” said UC assistant professor Mandy Albrecht, who nominated Swisher for the honor.

Swisher credits her accomplishments at UC to the values instilled in her by her family at an early age. She also thinks a couple of skills are necessary for attaining success in a competitive field like engineering.

“The biggest skills that help get through co-oping or engineering is just a willingness to listen, learn and problem solve,” she says. “Just having the determination and the willingness to sit down and put in the time has been the effort that I needed to get to this point.”

After graduation, Swisher hopes to work full-time for Model Group and continue serving the community and making the most of her major. With the experience from UC and her constant drive for success, she is confident she can have a lasting impact on the community. 

Featured image at top: Savannah Swisher walks through one of Model Group's job sites. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing.