Senior Capstones, Posters and Annual Awards Round out CEE Day

On April 24, dozens of proud parents and friends turned out for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE)’s 13th annual CEE Day at Villanova University. A celebration of the class of 2015, the afternoon included capstone design project presentations, an undergraduate research and service poster session and recognition of the department’s award-winning students.  

A culminating design experience in civil engineering, capstone projects challenge teams of students to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world problems. This year, 11 teams chose between capstones in Water Resources, Structural Engineering and Transportation Engineering, with several projects focused on the needs of the College’s international service learning partners. For Panama, assignments included design of a church and multiple span steel bridges, as well as a comprehensive stormwater management plan for the City of Knowledge in Panama City. A project in Honduras called for the design of a church for Amigos de Jesus, a home for children. Closer to Villanova, a team took on the challenge of designing a three-story apartment building for a local college, while three Transportation capstone teams provided evaluations, analyses and recommendations for improvements to the National Highway System connectors to intermodal freight facilities in the Philadelphia area.

In addition to their capstone design projects, 13 students also presented research posters during CEE Day. Faculty advised students on studies that included an assortment of civil engineering challenges, from analysis of the impact of increased bus weight and the effect of internal reinforcement on the ultimate strength of full-scale bridge decks, to exploring friction factor modification to improve horizontal curve safety and the potential for phosphate adsorption of natural materials in wetland ecosystems.  Students from the Civil Engineering Service Learning course who traveled to Panama over spring break, presented a six-poster sequence on the department’s history with Father Wally Kasuboski’s mission in Panama and the impact of student volunteer work in the design of numerous water systems, bridges and churches. These posters, which chronicle past, present and future engineering work, will be on display in the vestibule between the monastery and Tolentine Hall.

Finally, one of the highlights of CEE Day is the awards presentation in which three of the department’s seniors are recognized for excellence. 

Stanley K. Ciesielski ’60 CE Award:  For scholastic excellence and freely giving time, energy and talents in service to the department.  Awarded to: Courtney Brown
Stanley K. Ciesielski ’60 CE Award: For scholastic excellence and freely giving time, energy and talents in service to the department. Awarded to: Courtney Brown
Stephanie Molina ’15 CE (right), recipient of the Dr. Lewis J. Mathers Award, is seen with Sister (Hermana) Orfa, a nun in Tortí, Panama.
Stephanie Molina ’15 CE (right), recipient of the Dr. Lewis J. Mathers Award, is seen with Sister (Hermana) Orfa, a nun in Tortí, Panama.
2nd Annual Chairman’s Award: For demonstrating a positive attitude and work ethic, and for significant contributions in service to Villanova University. Awarded to: Matthew Arnold
2nd Annual Chairman’s Award: For demonstrating a positive attitude and work ethic, and for significant contributions in service to Villanova University. Awarded to: Matthew Arnold

In thinking about the class of 2015, Professor and Department Chair David Dinehart, PhD, reflects: “I am extremely proud of all of the students, not only for their presentations on CEE Day, but for the many ways in which they demonstrated their commitment to the department’s mission throughout the year—‘We will provide the world with clean water and safe infrastructure.’ Their technical skills and understanding of social responsibility have been evident.”

During the week after CEE Day, Dr. Dinehart personally met with the senior class to get feedback on their four-year experience in Villanova’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  He says, “A universal theme was the students’ appreciation for the department’s dedicated, knowledgeable, talented and accessible faculty. Given our professors’ commitment to teaching, we couldn’t be happier with that response.”