Student Spotlights

Engineering's Theta Tau takes on rehabbing the almost forgotten "Steel Sculpture" on campus

Theta Tau members stand proudly in front of "Steel Sculpture" which their fraternity has re-discovered and rehabilitated for the entire College community. Back row, left to right: Gerron McIntosh, Dr. Mtenga, Clarence Williams III, Desmond Pressey, and Christopher Murphy Front row, left to right: Faheem Muhammed, Indigo Dunn, Daniely Cuevas, Ebony Lamar, and Rollin Scott
Theta Tau members begin the rehab of the steel beam sculpture starting with deep cleaning and a coat of primer before the painting begins. This project eventually took 6 days; cleaning 2 days, priming two more, then paining for another 2 days, to totally refurbish the largely unknown sculpture on the Engineering campus.

21 members of the newly created Theta Tau engineering fraternity at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University (FAMU-FSU) College of Engineering have re-discovered a hidden engineering jewel and have brought it into the spotlight.

Theta Tau is a professional engineering fraternity founded at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 15, 1904. The FSU colony was founded spring 2014. Theta Tau promotes brotherhood, professional development, and community service.

Currently in the process of becoming a nationally recognized chapter, members feel they have found a project that will aid their recognition efforts with Theta Tau Central Office. Ebony Lamar, speaking on behalf of the group, remarked, "We decided to engage in the beautification of the College of Engineering by refurbishing the steel beam sculpture. We felt that this project was necessary since the sculpture had deteriorated over the years."

The rehabilitation of the sculpture included pressure washing, priming, and finally painting the surface of the statue.

The steel sculpture design was developed by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and was installed on the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering campus about 20 years ago by Cives Steel Company.

Primus Mtenga, Ph.D., P.E., uses this sculpture as a learning tool in his CES 4605 Steel Design Course as a practical and visually appealing way to convey the various structural members and connections used by engineers.

"Most students have an issue with visualization, said Dr. Mtenga. "The sculpture is a very useful tool for this generation. It is a great means to mesh the physical to the theoretical and give students a tangible example of what is learned in the classroom."

Dr. Mtenga was very thankful that Theta Tau cleaned and repainted the sculpture giving it new life by making it more appealing. "Now when I take my students there," remarked Mtenga, "it enhances both teaching and learning abilities of the framing, members, and different connections used in the real world."

According to the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) website: "The original steel sculpture was erected on the University of Florida's campus in Gainesville on October 29, 1986. Created by Duane Ellifritt, Ph.D., P.E., Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at UF, the structure was envisioned to be a full-size 3D model that would provide engineering students with up-close, hands-on exposure to structural steel members and connections. A few years after the first sculpture was installed, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) requested and received permission to use and promote a scaled-down version of the sculpture as a teaching aid. Modified versions of the original steel sculpture now exist on more than 150 campuses worldwide." AISC

Theta Tau's steel sculpture service project was led by members Ebony Lamar and Clarence Williams III, assisted by two Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering professors, Dr. Primus Mtenga and Dr. Kamal Tawfiq, Chair.

The Theta Tau - Gamma class members involved:

Alexis Good Cameron Alsgood Jonathan Thomas
Christopher Murphy Courtney Kee Madeline Kewley
Daniely Cuevas Desmond Pressey Michael Mieir
Faheem Muhammad Ferriez Johnson Rollin Scott
Garrett Desoto Gerron McIntosh Rufus Caple III
Indigo Dunn Jeffery Rutledge Stephanie Fleming
Victor Wong