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CSU Fullerton student engineering team wins Rising Star Award

The California Geotechnical Engineers Association names the CSU Fullerton chapter a rising star after performances in national competitions

by Mackenna WaterhousePublished: May 16, 2012 09:30 AM

Mark Principe and Beena Ajmera
The California State University Fullerton student chapter of the California Geotechnical Engineers Association received this year’s “Rising Star Award” from the national organization.

The local student chapter, which was established in 2010 to allow engineering students to gain a better understanding of the industry in preparation for professional careers, has been participating in national conferences and competitions for the last year.

“This is a prestigious award among geotechnical practitioners in California,” said Binod Tiwari, the student organization’s faculty adviser. “Our students have done amazing work this year to earn this distinction.”

Geotechnical engineering is a branch of civil engineering that focuses on natural materials and the application of soil and rock mechanics in designing structures such as building foundations and damns.

“With the shortage of geotechnical engineers in our industry, this chapter helps to foster interest and careers in the profession,” Tiwari said.

Fifteen students participated in the American Society of Civil Engineer’s Geo-Congress national competition in Oakland in March. The Fullerton chapter competed for awards in several events, including  “GeoPrediction,” “GeoPoster” and “GeoWall.” Seven students also presented research papers that were published in academic publications.

Sabah Fanaiyan, a graduate student from Fullerton, placed sixth in the GeoPoster competition for her research presentation on the modification of weak soil to increase its load-carrying capacity during earthquakes. Beena Ajmera, of Ontario, and Mark Principe, of Orange, received a $1,000 award after placing third for predicting the behavior of a real-world geotechnical system in the “GeoPrediction” competition.

A team of four students also won a $2,000 award after placing second in the “GeoWall” competition, in which participants were asked to design and build a model of a stabilized earth wall. Team members included Principe, Richard Hastings of Brea, Martha Nevarez of La Puente and Alex Motzny of Fullerton.

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