Cunningham Engineers Dreams

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Former Ole Miss volleyball player Courtney Cunningham spent two weeks in Togo with Engineers Without Borders this past summer.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Former Ole Miss volleyball player Courtney Cunningham spent two weeks in Togo with Engineers Without Borders this past summer.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Nov. 21, 2013

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

Photo Gallery

OXFORD, Miss. -- Courtney Cunningham is a builder. While playing volleyball for Ole Miss from 2009-11, Cunningham helped build the Rebels into an NCAA Tournament team while also earning her civil engineering degree. From that degree, Cunningham is helping build dreams, including her own.

Cunningham spent two weeks this past August in Togo with Engineers Without Borders where she helped with the first phase of a 5- to 10-year project to build a school for one of the communities in the West African nation.

While the group faced many obstacles, they were able to pour two slabs for each classroom, put up all the columns to the correct height and set up an L-shape concrete beam for one of the classrooms.

"We came into a lot of obstacles that prevented us from getting the classrooms done in time," Cunningham said. "That's what happens whenever you go to a foreign country and you don't speak the language. There are always some difficulties you come across."

Cunningham described the typical day, in which they worked from sun up to sun down, in two words: very hot.

"We are so blessed here, and to go over there and have all those challenges put in front of us, and as engineers, we had to figure it out," she said. "They gave us the wrong shipment of rocks for our concrete mix and gravel, so we had to sort rocks. I took that challenge upon myself. It was very tedious, but it needed to be done. And it was a great way to get the kids involved.

"We would measure out an inch on the wheelbarrow. We put the rocks in there, and if it did not fit we would throw it out, and if it did fit we kept it in the wheelbarrow. You can only imagine how challenging this was because none of the kids spoke English, they all spoke French."

Cunningham left Togo on Aug. 21, spent a day in Oxford and then drove to Houston, where she now works as an engineer in training (EIT) for Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam. There, she helps design plans for clients while also learning from the professional engineers (PE) above her.

"Transportation engineering was not really what I worked on when I was in Togo, but the lessons I learned from Togo are helping me here," Cunningham said. "I learned how to deal with difficulties. Everything is not going to go right in engineering; you just have to find a way to make it work. It kind of goes back to volleyball and the classroom as well. You always encounter issues, and something not going right; it's how you and your mindset can make the problem better or fix it."

It's a five-year process from EIT to PE, during which Cunningham has to keep a record of all the projects she works on and then take an exam. That professional engineering license, Cunningham said, is her end goal, what she's working for and her everything right now, but she also sees something beyond the license.

"The dream career is to travel while doing engineering and get to a point where I can call myself a project manager," Cunningham said. "That's the end goal for me. That's what my eye is on right now."

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

07/15/2014 - Rebel Ready

Shackelford Nominated for Allstate AFCA...

For the second straight year, Ole Miss' Deterrian Shackelford (Decatur, Alabama) has been nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®, which is one of the most coveted and prestigious off-... Read More [+]

07/10/2014 - Rebel Ready

Bramlett Selected To NCAA SAAC

Ole Miss baseball player Brady Bramlett was selected to represent the Southeastern Conference as a member of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Bramlett's appointment... Read More [+]

07/09/2014 - Rebel Ready

Track Volunteers with Horizons Summer...

The Ole Miss head track coach Brian O'Neal and assistant coach Greg Stringer opened up the Manning Center for the participants in Ole Miss' Horizons Summer Learning program on Wednesday (July 9).... Read More [+]

06/27/2014 - Rebel Ready

Rebels Volunteer with Horizons Summer...

The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened up the Tuohy Center and put the participants in Ole Miss' Horizons Summer Learning Program through some drills on Friday (June 27) morning. Read More [+]

06/16/2014 - Rebel Ready

Nall Begins Year-Long Internship With NCAA

Mary Ashton Nall grew up around intercollegiate athletics, specifically college football. Her father, Hugh, played football at Georgia and coached at Ole Miss and Auburn. From competing in the NCAA... Read More [+]

05/19/2014 - Rebel Ready

Nall, Nichols Make SEC Community Service Team

Ole Miss seniors Mary Ashton Nall and Alex Nichols were named to the 2014 Southeastern Conference Community Service Teams for women's and men's track and field, respectively. Read More [+]

05/06/2014 - Rebel Ready

Ole Miss Athletics Assists With Tornado...

Ole Miss Athletics delivered a 35-foot trailer stacked full of donations on Monday to help storm victims around Mississippi. Read More [+]

05/02/2014 - Rebel Ready

Ole Miss Gathering Aid For Mississippi...

Through the Rebel Relief Project, Ole Miss fans and area residents will have the opportunity to donate household and clothing items for tornado victims across Mississippi at various locations in... Read More [+]

04/15/2014 - Rebel Ready

Ole Miss SAAC Hosting Shoe Drive

The Ole Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is partnering with Purshoeing Joy to collect used shoes for children in Guatemala. SAAC members will be collecting shoes at Friday's (April... Read More [+]

04/02/2014 - Rebel Ready

Special Olympics Tennis Event Held At Ole ...

Ole Miss hosted the Special Olympics tennis event at the Gillom Sports Center Wednesday. The event was sponsored by the North Mississippi Regional Center. Read More [+]

Facebook
Twitter
Blog
  • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Sept. 22-28)

    Monday, September 29, 2014 - Athletics

    Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 22-28, 2014Football- No. 10 Ole Miss used a dominant defensive effort to put away Memphis 24-3 on Saturday, setting up one of the biggest games in recent history this coming Saturday against the Alabama... read more

  • PHOTOS: Week-Long Timeline of Powder Blues

    Monday, September 29, 2014 - Football

    1. Tuesday 9/23 at 4PM @CoachHughFreeze reveals the helmets to the @olemissfb team at team meeting. pic.twitter.com/8jpVCvny4p— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September 29, 2014 2. Wed 9/24 at 4PM @OleMissFB practice hidden indoors so that team practice in helmets for safety reasons. pic.twitter.com/vA0Oo6Ps7S— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September... read more

  • Observations from the Best Seat in the House

    Sunday, September 28, 2014 - Athletics

    It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. I'll handle the bulk of the notes this week, but we also have some insight from Austin Miller here as well. Let's... read more

  • Upset Bid Falls Short Against No. 10 A&M

    Sunday, September 28, 2014 - Soccer

    Seeking its first win over a top-10 team since 2009, Ole Miss took a 1-0 lead but fell short to No. 10 Texas A&M, 2-1, Sunday afternoon. "I'm really happy with the team's performance," head coach Matt Mott said. "I'm... read more

  • Defense Honors Mullins with Dominant Effort

    Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Football

    Wearing the lighter blue helmets for the first time since 1994 to honor the late Chucky Mullins, the Ole Miss defense also honored his memory with perhaps the most dominant defensive performance of the Hugh Freeze Era. "Chucky would have... read more

  • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Memphis Motivational

    Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Football

    Ole Miss vs Memphis: Official Team Motivational from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

  • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Memphis

    Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Football

    Three areas to watch as No. 10 Ole Miss faces Memphis Saturday. Battle of the Quarterbacks Ole Miss and Memphis have both gotten steady quarterback play, as both teams rank inside the top-15 nationally in scoring offense.  Senior quarterback Bo... read more

  • Rebels Rebound with Hard-Fought Draw

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Soccer

    Playing in their fourth overtime game of the season, the Ole Miss soccer team played Arkansas to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Thursday night.  The teams combined for 30 shots, including 13 on goal, but the game was characterized more... read more

  • 3 Things About Gameday - Ole Miss vs. Memphis

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Football

    read more

  • Freeze Stresses Focus, Attention Ahead of Memphis

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Football

    Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' matchup with Memphis on Saturday (6:30 p.m. CT, Fox Sports Net). Freeze's time on the call begins at the 1:21:20 mark. For... read more

  • Memphis Not Fazed by Big Stage

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - Football

    Memphis is 2-1 heading into Saturday's matchup with wins over Austin Peay (63-0) and Middle Tennessee (36-17) and a 42-35 loss at No. 11 UCLA. The Tigers scored two early fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie the Bruins at 35-35 with 13:44... read more

  • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Sept. 15-21)

    Monday, September 22, 2014 - Athletics

    Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 15-21, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss went 4-0 to capture the Rebel Classic and improve to 14-0 on the season.- Through four weeks of the season, the Rebels have equaled last year's win total (14-17).- Sophomore... read more

  • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Sept. 21

    Sunday, September 21, 2014 - Athletics

    This is the fourth installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week... read more

  • Rebels Finish Non-Conference on High Note

    Saturday, September 20, 2014 - Volleyball

    The Ole Miss Volleyball team remained undefeated at 14-0 and matched last year's win total with a 4-0 weekend at the Rebel Classic capped by wins over Lamar (3-0) and Jackson State (3-1) Saturday. The last three sets against Jackson... read more

  • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 4

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - Football

    The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 4 - ULL (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 2 and The Season: Ole Miss... read more