The Department of Civil Engineering at Lawrence Technological University has won $7,500 as one of five finalists in a national competition for connecting engineering practice and education.

The University of New Mexico’s Department of Civil Engineering finished first among 26 entrants in the competition sponsored by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

Lawrence Tech’s Department of Civil Engineering was honored for its two-semester design and project management capstone sequence for seniors, which includes significant interaction with industry through mentor relationships and professional critiques.

During the recently concluded academic year, two senior project student teams collaborated with the nonprofit corporation Self Help Addiction Rehabilitation of Detroit, which is promoting the redevelopment of blighted property in Detroit through its RecoveryPark master plan.

The Project E student capstone team developed plans for rehabilitating an abandoned market as an equestrian center for the Detroit Police Department. The Earth, Preservation, and Recovery team proposed using a closed Detroit Public School building as a vocational school for urban farming and sustainable living skills.

During the planning process, the student teams worked with mentors in the civil engineering profession and made their final presentations to an industry advisory board. They were in contact with industry practitioners and community organizers.

“These two teams gained knowledge about an underserved population in the Detroit area, and they saw how their skills as engineers can be used for the benefit of society,” said Lawrence Tech Associate Professor Donald Carpenter, a faculty advisor for senior projects in the Department of Civil Engineering.

Gary Wozniak, RecoveryPark’s chief development officer, said the Lawrence Tech students brought some new ideas to the planning process.

“Young minds are ripe with innovative ideas, and the Lawrence Tech students have demonstrated this through their efforts to plan and design two unique projects that bring green ideas into our large urban revitalization master plan,” he said.

The proposed mounted police station would draw on the resources of a large-animal veterinary clinic that is being considered for the Detroit area. The project involves the renovation and expansion of a local landmark, the Chene-Ferry Market, rehabilitation of 12 square blocks in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood, and the environmental remediation of 46 acres.

The students who worked on the Plan E team were Lindsey Stevens, Kevin Brown, and Neil Ganshorn. Carpenter was the faculty advisor.

The EPR proposal involves the design and construction of the Urban Agri-Tech Vocational School, a trade school specializing in urban farming and sustainable technologies. The project would redevelop the former Frederick Douglass High School on Detroit’s east side. A new addition would house laboratories and a greenhouse.

The proposal includes a conservation site development strategy with zero percent stormwater discharge by using a green roof, cisterns, bioswales, naturalized water retention, and an innovative gray water treatment system.

The students who worked on this project were Erica Walker, Michael Kapetansky, Jessican Howard, and Bryan Dage. Assistant Professor John Tocco was the faculty advisor.

NCEES is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers and surveyors. It develops, administers, and scores the examinations used for engineering and surveying licensure in the United States. It also facilitates professional mobility and promotes uniformity of the U.S. licensure processes through services for its member licensing boards and licensees.

In selecting Lawrence Tech as a finalist, the NCEES jury of professional engineers considered numerous factors including successful collaboration of faculty, students, and professionals; benefit to the health, safety, and welfare of the public; knowledge and skills gained; and effectiveness of written and graphical presentation of the design submittal.

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