Distinguished chapter

By Abby Rhodes
September 23, 2011

Bradley University’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) was honored this year with the Region 3 Distinguished Chapter Award from the ASCE National Committee on Student Activities. The award is the chapter’s latest in a series of recognitions and accolades from the national organization, which has long commended the outreach efforts and achievements made by Bradley’s civil engineering and construction students.

“This recognition is further confirmation of the dedication our student leaders demonstrate year after year,” said Dr. Krishnanand Maillacheruvu, co-adviser of Bradley’s ASCE student chapter. “Their enthusiasm and strong work ethic, backed by department chair Dr. Al-Khafaji’s efforts in securing tremendous support from industry partners, have helped Bradley’s ASCE chapter earn this national distinction.”

For 20 years, Bradley’s Bridge-Pal program has fostered interest in engineering among area middle and high school students. Developed by Al-Khafaji, the program seeks to address the projected shortfall of engineers nationwide through an annual balsa wood bridge-building contest.

The chapter also conducts a yearly Illinois River Sweep, builds playgrounds and tracks at Peoria-area schools and in low-income neighborhoods, and participates in the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway cleanup program.

In addition to hands-on outreach efforts, ASCE members also spend a great deal of time mentoring aspiring engineers and helping prepare Bradley’s engineering students to take the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam.

“We keep students informed of what’s going on with ASCE at the national level, while sponsoring activities, contests and service projects that give students an idea of what to expect from a career in civil engineering and construction,” said Manuel Cisneros ’12, the chapter’s vice president.

A perennial powerhouse in the ASCE Great Lakes Conference (GLC) bridge competitions, Bradley routinely scores top finishes among nearly 20 participating schools. The 2009 Steel Bridge team made history by becoming the first team from Bradley to be invited to the National Student Steel Bridge Competition.

Next April, Bradley’s ASCE chapter will host the 2012 Great Lakes Conference on the Hilltop. The event will showcase participants’ skill and ingenuity in a variety of categories including steel bridge, environmental design, concrete canoe, geotechnical design, surveying and others.

“The Distinguished Chapter Award is very motivating as we prepare to host next spring’s GLC conference, which takes a lot of coordination and planning,” said Philip Doll ’12, chair of Bradley’s concrete canoe team. “It’s very rewarding to have the national organization recognize all the work we put into these events.”