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

03/17/2014 - Rebel Ready

Rebels' Choice Awards Set For March 31

Ole Miss will be honoring the athletic achievements of the past year at the fourth annual Rebels' Choice Awards on Monday, March 31 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for Performing Arts. The semi-form... Read More [+]

03/10/2014 - Rebel Ready

Ole Miss SAAC Participates in Diversity...

Recently the Ole miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) had a chance to participate in a roundtable discussion with Sam Freedman on the topic of Diversity in Sports. Read More [+]

02/26/2014 - Rebel Ready

Soledad O'Brien Visits Ole Miss

Ole Miss minority student-athletes and athletics administration were able to share in a discussion on diversity and inclusion with former CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien, as part of O'Brien's Black in... Read More [+]

02/11/2014 - Rebel Ready

Freeze Visits Batson Children's Hospital

Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze recently took time out of his busy schedule to visit with patients and workers at the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson, Miss. Read More [+]

01/23/2014 - Rebel Ready

More Than Softball: Team Visits Le Bonheur...

The Ole Miss softball team does not open its season until Feb. 7, but in many regards, the Rebels have already won the day. Read More [+]

12/18/2013 - Rebel Ready

Ole Miss SAAC Takes Part in Leadership...

Recently the Ole Miss student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC) took part in a two-day leadership retreat put on by the Ole Miss Athletics Department. Read More [+]

11/22/2013 - Rebel Ready

Ole Miss Student-Athletes Spread Holiday...

OXFORD, Miss. -Ole Miss student-athletes, spearheaded by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, recently participated in an athletic department wide "Adopt-A-Basket" service event. Read More [+]

11/21/2013 - Rebel Ready

Cunningham Engineers Dreams

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... Read More [+]

11/19/2013 - Rebel Ready

Ole Miss Athletes Participate In Etiquette...

OXFORD, Miss. - Recently Ole Miss student-athletes participated in the "Backpacks to Briefcases" etiquette/networking dinner. The program is designed to help student-athletes make the transition... Read More [+]

11/07/2013 - Rebel Ready

Help Ole Miss, Kroger Fight Hunger

Ole Miss and Kroger, in conjunction with the Mid-South Food Bank and the Mississippi Food Network, will be on hand during Saturday's football game versus Arkansas to collect non-perishable food... Read More [+]

Facebook
Twitter
Blog
  • Scholtz Joins Elite Group

    Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Men's Tennis

    The Ole Miss tennis program continues it's rich tradition under head coach Billy Chadwick of producing the best player in the country's toughest conference.  Today, the SEC office announced junior and two-time All-American Nik Scholtz as the Southeastern Conference Player... read more

  • Scholtz Named SEC Player Of The Year

    Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Men's Tennis

    read more

  • Chadwick'sTop Moments: No. 10

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - Men's Tennis

    Moving along chronologically, today we delve into the top 10 moments of Ole Miss men's tennis coach Billy Chadwick continuing with the 2005 season, which was one of the most exciting seasons in Ole Miss tennis history. In 2005, the... read more

  • VIDEO: SEC Network 'Take It All In' Promo

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - Athletics

    read more

  • Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 11

    Monday, April 21, 2014 - Men's Tennis

    On this Monday we take a look at moment No. 11 of the top moments in Billy Chadwick's career.  This moment encompasses a year full of great accomplishments that Chadwick made the norm for the Ole Miss tennis program.  In... read more

  • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 14-20)

    Monday, April 21, 2014 - Athletics

    Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 14-20, 2014Baseball- Ole Miss went 1-2 last week vs. No. 7 LSU, dropping a 13-inning affair in the series opener before taking game two and falling in the series finale.- Ole Miss became the... read more

  • Baseball Scorecards Tell the Story

    Monday, April 21, 2014 - Baseball

    Earlier this baseball season, Ole Miss tied a game on a dropped fly ball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, which was a case of deja vu for Ole Miss fan Curtis Wilkie, who remembered the same... read more

  • Closing Time

    Monday, April 21, 2014 - Women's Golf

    Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Normal 0 false false false EN-US... read more

  • VIDEO: Ole Miss-LSU Highlights

    Saturday, April 19, 2014 - Baseball

    read more

  • Rebels Drop Series With Shutout Loss To LSU

    Saturday, April 19, 2014 - Baseball

    Sam Smith posted his eighth straight quality start, but it was not enough, as LSU shut out Ole Miss 2-0 Saturday afternoon to take the three-game series. It was the first time that the Rebels had been shutout since a... read more

  • Rainy Start to the SEC Championships

    Friday, April 18, 2014 - Women's Golf

    Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Ole Miss women's golf sports information... read more

  • VIDEO: Ole Miss-LSU Highlights

    Friday, April 18, 2014 - Baseball

    read more

  • Bousfield's 4-For-4 Game Lifts Rebels To Win

    Friday, April 18, 2014 -

    LSU looked to have gotten out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, but right fielder Mark Laird dropped a fly ball in foul territory that would have been the final out and send the game to the fifth down... read more

  • Rebel Road Trip 2014: Look Back Video

    Friday, April 18, 2014 - Athletics

    BancorpSouth Rebel Road Trip 2014: Look Back Video from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

  • Ellis Duels Nola To A Draw In Series Opener

    Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Baseball

    For eight innings, Chris Ellis dueled Aaron Nola, the Southeastern Conference's leader in strikeouts (84) and earned run average (0.70) to a draw, as he left with the game with the score tied at 2-2. It was the eighth time... read more