Orange County Branch Newsletter

December 2017

ASCE OC Branch Events

History and Heritage Night / Student Scholarship Night December 2017

By Jeff Braun, P.E.

Civil Engineers from throughout Orange County, and beyond, recognized the contributions of our experienced engineers and the dedication of the upcoming generation at the ASCE Orange County History & Heritage and Student Scholarship Night on November 16, 2017.  Attendees arrived to the red carpet at the Marconi Auto Museum, mingling amongst classic race cars and high-end vehicles. We had a beautiful evening to reconnect with friends, meet new ones, and have a lot of fun. The ASCE Orange County Board sincerely thanks all who attended and contributed to such a memorable evening.

Over 80 students polished their resumes in preparation for the career fair and networking portion of the evening, which kicked off the event.  We had 22 firms from across all disciplines and markets within Orange County manning tables to discuss potential opportunities with the students and potential teaming partners.  We are especially grateful to the firms who sponsored the event, as well as our annual sponsors, whose contributions allowed us to lower students’ costs and award several scholarships.  Student attendees primarily represented the student chapters affiliated with the Orange County Branch, Cal State - Fullerton, Cal State - Long Beach, and - UC Irvine; but we also had attendees from other institutions such as the University of Southern California and the University of Hawaii.

Student engineers meet with prospective employers during the career fair and networking portion of the evening.

Past President of the Orange County Branch, and most recently a Region 9 Governor, John Hogan recognized the Branch’s Past Presidents. He kicked off the History and Heritage portion of the program by describing the previous generations of branch leadership’s contributions to the Branch, to ASCE, and to the community.  We were lucky enough to have 14 Past Presidents in attendance, many of whom are continuing to serve at all levels of ASCE and in other partner organizations to advance the civil engineering profession.

ASCE Orange County Past Presidents in attendance at the 2017 H&H and Scholarship Night

The Branch’s History and Heritage Committee Chair, Tom Broz, then took the stage to provide a great presentation on ASCE’s Historical Landmarks within the LA Section region as well as a history of the transportation network throughout Orange County and Southern California.  His blend of captivating pictures, technical details, and humor had much of the crowd asking for more time for the History and Heritage portion of the event in future years.

ASCE OC Branch History and Heritage Committee Chair, Tom Broz

Chuck Karunathilake, the Orange County Younger Members Forum President, bridged the gap between the work that’s been completed by Orange County’s more senior engineers and the rising junior, staff, and project engineers as well as students. He described how valuable his experiences with ASCE have been through his growth from engineering student at CSU - Long Beach to the President’s role for one of the best Younger Members groups throughout all of ASCE.

OC YMF President – Chuck Karunathilake

The audience was treated to presentations by the leadership of all three Orange County Branch student chapters, where they shared their accomplishments from last year and their vision and goals for their upcoming term. Healthy competition is essential to growth and Gaby Gonzalez, the University Outreach Committee Chair, announced the University of California – Irvine as the Branch’s Outstanding Student Chapter of the Year. Their professional development program, field trips, and outstanding effort as hosts of the Pacific Southwest Conference over the past year put them just ahead of Fullerton and Long Beach, who also had great years and were very deserving of recognition

UCI President Darlyn Hernandez and University Outreach Chair Gaby Gonzales

Our keynote speaker for the evening was Ms. Robin Kemper, the ASCE Society President Elect.  She described the state of the profession and described the growth she believes civil engineers will need to meet future needs of our communities.  She also provided overviews of ASCE’s vision and three focus areas – raising the bar, the grand challenge, and sustainable infrastructure. Ms. Kemper also awarded lucky raffle winners with ASCE calendars for 2018 along with valuable gift certificates.

ASCE Society President Elect, Robin Kemper, provides the keynote presentation

The very exciting event finale was awarding several deserving students with scholarships on behalf of the Branch, as well as the Geotechnical, Transportation and Development, and the Environmental and Water Resources Institutes. Several deserving applicants applied, but the following students earned scholarships based on their academic performance, ASCE involvement, and for the institute’s scholarships, their contributions to their chosen discipline.

Ani Sarkissian receives the Gary Gilbert Achievement Scholarship from the OC Executive Board

Please help me in congratulating all of our 2017 Student Scholarship Winners:

  • Gary Gilbert Achievement ($2,500) – Ani Sarkissian (UCI)
  • Achievement ($1,500) – Amber Ganapathy (UCI)
  • Achievement ($1,000) – John Good (CSULB)
  • Achievement ($1,000) – Haley Witzeman (UCI)
  • Achievement ($1,000) – Darlyn Hernandez (UCI)
  • GeoInstitute ($1,000) – Samantha Bahena (CSUF)
  • EWRI ($750) – Hannah Carson (CSULB)
  • EWRI ($500) – Eric Truong (UCI)
  • Transportation Vision ($500) – Jackson Ziegler (CSULB)
  • Transportation Vision ($500) – Preston Kamada (UCI)

The event was a great success, bringing together engineers of all experience levels and disciplines to celebrate the contributions of our predecessors, the leadership of our current CEO’s and principals, the dedication and technical skills of our mid-level engineers, and the energy and initiative of our junior engineers and students. The generosity of our event sponsors and the continued support from the annual sponsors resulted in an evening to remember.  Thank you again to all who contributed to making the 2017 History & Heritage and Student Scholarship Night a great success.

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