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LTU wins national engineering education award

Release Date: September 16, 2021
NCEES.jpgA rendering of the student design that won the NCEES award.

LTU image

SOUTHFIELD—A capstone thesis project team from Lawrence Technological University was one of only eight national winners of the Engineering Education Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

LTU was the only Michigan university to win one of the awards.

The project, developed by students in LTU’s five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program in architectural engineering, was the design of an interdisciplinary research center on the campus of Oakland University. The students developed the idea for the project themselves as a training exercise.

Participating students were Mario Chiesa, team leader, and Sydney Shultz, Alayne Nyboer, Nathan Mark, Nicklas Kent, and Brandon Garcia.

The jury said of the project: “Lots of multidisciplinary aspects were involved—project management and architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, and construction engineering. There was good collaboration with many professionals both within and outside of the university.” Another judge said: “This was a great multidisciplinary project that covered many facets of engineering and closely followed the real-world process for designing a new building.”

Faculty advisers on the project, all with LTU’s Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, were: Ahmed Al-Bayati, assistant professor; Arpan Guha, senior lecturer; Mena Bebawy, associate professor; Keith Kowalkowski, assistant professor and assistant department chair; Michael Nowicki, adjunct faculty and industry advisory board member; and Pierce Sadlier, adjunct faculty.

Also participating as an industry practitioner was Christopher M. Fazzalare, P.E., an alumnus of LTU’s architectural engineering program who is now an electrical engineer for Troy-based Superior Electric Great Lakes Co.

On the NCEES web page acknowledging LTU for the award, Kowalkowski noted that “… the students gain extremely valuable experience in seeing how their education applies from the start of a project to the end of the project, and it also helps teach the students how to develop quality deliverables in different formats. During the project, students weigh several design alternatives and are forced to justify their design decisions.”

Chiesa added that the experience “taught the team a lot through the various workings of the project. From architecture, structural engineering, to MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) engineering, and construction engineering, the team had to understand, design, and develop a project specific for the client needs, while learning the ways around various equipment, loading, and design methods that would be feasible, adequate, and efficient for a modern building in today’s world.”

And Fazzalare said he participated because “I wanted to introduce the students to the practice and stages of engineering a project. While a lot of time at school is spent learning about the calculations, system types, and limitations, there are also practice elements that can help the students organize their thoughts through each stage of the design process and when to perform each calculation or detail a system layout. This is often taught through experience at internships; however, the basics of taking your ideas, diagrams, and floor plans from concept to a well-organized set of drawings is in my mind the last important step in completing part of the training and introducing them to the industry they are about to join as young professionals.”

NCEES, based in Greenville, S.C., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers and surveyors. Its members are the engineering and surveying licensure boards from the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories: Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 100 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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