Santa Clara University


Winter 2009 Newsletter

The start of the 2008-2009 academic year saw a  record number of freshman engineering students enroll in the University's School of Engineering. Civil Engineering continues to be an attractive career path for many of these students as enrollments have almost doubled when compared to just several years ago. While the higher enrollment numbers mean larger class sizes in required courses, they will also translate into the ability to offer more focused elective courses as well.

This winter term a new graduate course is being co-offered with the Law School. The course, CENG 280: Engineering and the Law, will examine the legal aspects of engineering contracts with a particular focus on the implications of using Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems. The course instructor (Gilson Riecken) is
a practicing attorney with extensive experience working with the civil engineering industry.

In addition to current SCU graduate students, the course and other civil engineering courses are also open to practicing engineers through the Graduate Engineering Open University program (

Lastly, the 2009 Solar Decathlon House is finishing up its design phase with the start of the construction planned for the spring of 2009.Civil engineering students have been working hard on the structural design of the house and will also be spearheading the on-site construction management. The 2009 entry is a joint venture between the Santa Clara University and California College of the Arts (CCA) with SCU providing the engineering expertise while CCA provides the architectural prowess.

Students Explore Their Profession First-hand

This past fall, SCU civil engineering students participated in two professional development activities that shed more light on the career options they will have in the future. On the last weekend in September, fourteen SCU civil engineering students attended the Student Days Conference hosted by the ASCE San Francisco and Sacramento Sections and their respective Construction Institute groups. The students were able to attend technical sessions, visit several major Bay Area construction projects, participate in career development workshops, and meet students from other schools and practicing professionals.


   At the end of October, ten SCU civil engineering students,
including five sophomores, participated in the 2008 Granite Construction Collegiate Challenge in Sacramento. This hands-on learning experience introduced students to the world of heavy highway construction through six separate activities over the course of one long Saturday.

Student teams investigated laboratory-based quality control and quality assurance programs, estimated stockpile aggregate volumes, conducted a short GPS-based surveying exercise, examined/assessed a simulated on-site accident, operated construction equipment, and completed a detailed take-off and cost estimate for a roadway project.The very tired but thankful group of students all learned a lot and got to know each other much better.


A Student's Perspective by Nicholas de Cesare (Class of 2011): When i heard of the Granite Construction Collegiate Challenge I was initially hesitant about applying. I thought that, as just a sophomore, I would not know enough to be any
help to my team and the fact that it was against other schools with civil engineering and construction management majors made it even more daunting.Being just barely in my sophomore year, I was only just beginning to take classes specific to my
major. I perceived this as a huge disadvantage to all of the seniors and juniors likely to comprise the teams from the other invited colleges. But what I came to realize is the this would also be a great opportunity for me to learn what i would actually
be doing as a civil engineer in the field of heavy construction. In my experience as a sophomore, the Granite Construction Collegiate Challenge offered a prime opportunity for me and my peers to develop the skills we would need for the field of Civil Engineering. And more importantly, we learned new skills that would help us in the years of school we have left,
and the years beyond.

Recent Graduate Receives California Transportation Foundation Scholarship

In 2008, the California Transportation Foundation (CTF) awarded a scholarship to one of the students who attended the CTF Transportation Education Symposium in fall 2007. To compete for the scholarship, students were required to submit an essay entitled "What I Would do to Improve Transportation in California." SCU's Trevor Mallo and nine other students competed for the scholarship and his essay was judged best by a committee of CTF Board Members.

Sophomores Explore Global Warming

This Past fall, sophomore students enrolled in CENG 15 Computer Applications in Civil Engineering were asked to research global warming and present their perspectives for short and long-term civil engineering solutions to address the issue. Each student research group was encouraged to present all sides of the global warming discussion and visualize their role as the engineers who may be required to address the issue. The students generally agreed that global warming is a fact! They also concluded that global warming is not human-made but based on available data, it is human-accelerated. The students presented several ideas for the active technical and political roles civil engineers must play as our society changes course and moves toward the development of a more sustainable world.

Date (2009)                    Event/Activity

February 20                     Postmark Deadline for the April FE/EIT Exam
February 25                     ASCE/AGC Student Chapter Career Fair  - Benson Memorial Center
                                        For more information, please contact the department at 408-554-4061
April 16-18                      ASCE Mid-Pacific Regional Student Conference at the University at Nevada, Reno
April 24                           Civil PE Exam (General Civil Component)
April 25                           Civil State-specific PE Exam Components (Surveying & Seismic Principles)
April 25                           FE/EIT Exam
May 7                              SCU School of Engineering Senior Design Conference
                                        For more information, please visit
June 13                            SCU Undergraduate Commencement

             Laisa Alcala                                            Gabriel Alcantar                                    Brandon Camilli
             Steffany Castro                                       Chiaming Chi                                         Sara Doi
             Patrick Grogan                                        Kimberly Hoo                                       Kristen Jackson
             Martin Jordan                                          Raymond Lam                                      Trevor Mallo
             Jasdeep Mangat                                      Carla Villarreal Montes                          Ben Patriacca
             Matthew Rechenmacher                          Edward Reyes                                       Amy Swoboda
             Bryant Troung                                         Michael Wackerman                              Seale Wong
             Madison Wood