Civil Engineering Students Commended by ASCE

The American Society of Civil Engineers recognizes LAU student chapter among the top five percent worldwide.

By Raissa Batakji

Dr. Khoury (C) with Abi Younes (R) and Nassar at the Engineering Gala Dinner last year.
The ASCE Certificate of Commendation is a distinction granted to only the top five percent of the ASCE student organizations worldwide.

This month, the LAU Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) received a Certificate of Commendation – a distinction granted to the top five percent of its student organizations worldwide.

In their letter, ASCE’s Committee on Student Members cited “accomplishments that reflect the enthusiasm and hard work of student officers and members,” as well as the “fine guidance of their faculty advisor,” Associate Professor of Civil Engineering John Khoury, and the full support of the Civil Engineering Department.

Dr. Khoury offered an overview of the society. “A community of more than 150,000 civil engineers, the ASCE stands at the forefront of a profession that plans, designs, constructs and operates society’s economic and social engine – the built environment – while protecting and restoring the natural environment.”

For LAU students, he said, it presents “an opportunity of a lifetime working and mingling with fellow engineers from other universities and across the industry,” as they organize and plan events, attend workshops and seminars, compete, and give talks.

Alumna Gaelle Abi Younes (BE ’19) joined the chapter during her very first year at LAU. “My passion for planning events and discovering my future profession at a deeper level pushed me forward,” she said, relating how she climbed the ranks within the chapter from member to treasurer and president in her senior year. Even after graduating, she continues to serve as an advisor and helps in organizing events where needed.

“My fundamental vision for the chapter was to transform it from being perceived as an extracurricular activity to an essential tool for learning, discovering the civil engineering profession, and complementing the knowledge offered in our classrooms,” declared Abi Younes.

Indeed, Dr. Khoury listed recent projects that the chapter had taken on. From supporting all civil engineering students academically – especially in response to recurrent closures during the year ­– ­ to helping in organizing Engineering Week and Gala Dinner, and the ASCE Popsicle Bridge Competition besides offering technical seminars and planning field trips. 

Abi Younes also pointed out that having excellent grades is not sufficient to land a perfect job or pursue graduate studies in top universities. “You need to find that one skill that sets you apart from hundreds – even thousands – of applicants.”

To that end, noted Dr. El Khoury, the chapter “provides a technical and social networking medium for our students to grow and explore new horizons,” adding that “they get to build, not physical structures, but social relationships that last a lifetime.”

That was especially true for another former president of the chapter, senior civil engineering student Charbel Nassar. “This certificate is undeniably a remarkable testament to our hard work, commitment and dedication, yet the bigger reward for me has been the new family I found in ASCE and the long-term connections I have established,” he said.

In a comment, Civil Engineering Chair and Associate Professor Caesar Abi Shdid thanked the ASCE for propelling students forward. “This award has given us the opportunity to take into perspective not only the accomplishments that are made by the ASCE student chapter and their faculty advisor, but also the contributions of all the excellent leaders of this chapter in preparing our civil engineering students to work and stay active in our industry, and to view their future civil engineering careers as more than just a nine-to-five job.”