University of Evansville Civil Engineering Students Win 2014 NCEES Engineering Award for Fairfield Reservoir and Dam Project

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UE 1 of 6 colleges nationally to receive prestigious engineering award.

Competitions like this are extremely valuable in educating engineering professionals.

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) has named the University of Evansville as one of only six colleges nationally to receive a 2014 NCEES Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education. UE’s Civil Engineering Program in the College of Engineering and Computer Science will receive $7,500 as a winner of the competition.

For their entry, UE’s civil engineering senior design team worked with faculty, residents of Fairfield, and licensed professional engineers on the Fairfield Reservoir and Dam project in Fairfield, Illinois. Lakeside Park, in Fairfield included a 100-year-old lake constructed in the late nineteenth century on a 454 acre watershed. The lake was used for recreational purposes by local residents, but the deteriorating earth dam was declared unsafe in 2007 and ordered breached by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Successful collaboration between a ten-member student team, five licensed engineers, four faculty, the Fairfield Park District, and the Fairfield Mayor’s office resulted in a design for constructing a new dam and spillway, reestablishing a 12-acre lake, and providing flood protection for residents of the city of Fairfield. Find more information about the project at

“The civil engineering students worked eight months on this project and collaborated with a number of stakeholders. They did an outstanding job and their design meets state and federal dam safety requirements,” said Brian Swenty, Chair of the Mechanical and Civil Engineering Department at UE.

The ten civil engineering students who worked on the project were Chris Kuester and James Gabe, project managers, Matt Blythe, Jamie Johnson, Alex Loehrlein, Hieronymus Mitchell, Zach Neukam, Heather Passey, Alex Schwingerhamer and Kilian Sweet.

The NCEES Engineering Award recognizes engineering programs that encourage collaboration between students and professional engineers. EAC-ABET-accredited programs from all engineering disciplines were invited to submit projects that integrate professional practice and education. The winners were selected by a jury of NCEES members and representatives from academic institutions and professional engineering organizations.

“Competitions like this are extremely valuable in educating engineering professionals,” said Philip Gerhart, UE Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “The competitions add a degree of realism and significance to the student projects that is not present in mere ‘textbook’ assignments. We are grateful for NCEES providing this opportunity and for selecting our students’ project for an award.”

The grand prize winner of the competition was Seattle University. Other winners were The Citadel; North Carolina State University; Seattle University, and University of Notre Dame. Profiles of the winning submissions are available online at

UE College of Engineering and Computer Science students have garnered numerous awards and recognition in 2014 including the following:

Civil Engineering
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Great Lakes Regional Conference
Concrete Canoe –2nd Place • Quiz Bowl – 1st Place • Mead Paper (Technical Paper) – 3rd Place
Other Achievements
ASCE Indiana Section Design Presentation Competition – 1stPlace
ASCE Student Chapter – Certificate of Commendation, top 15% in U.S.

Mechanical Engineering
SAE Formula Car International Competition
39th Place; 107 teams competing (25th Place among U.S. teams)
SAE Baja Vehicle Competition
44th Place; 91 teams competing (38th Place among U.S. teams)
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Williston Student Paper Award
2nd (eight 1st or 2nd place winners in the past 12 years)

Computer Science
ACM Programming Contest
Team 1st Place at site and 19th Place regionally

Electrical and Computer Engineering
IEEE SoutheastCon Regional Competition
2nd Place; 42 team robotics competition

For more information contact about the University of Evansville College of Engineering and Computer Science visit or email uerelations(at)evansville(dot)edu.

About the University of Evansville: The University of Evansville is a private, liberal arts-based university in Evansville, Indiana, with a full-time undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,300. UE’s diverse student body represents 41 states and 54 countries. U.S. News & World Report recognizes UE as a top 10 master’s-granting university in the Midwest, and third in the region for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” For more information, please visit

About NCEES: The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying is a nonprofit organization made up of engineering and surveying licensing boards from all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since its founding in 1920, NCEES has been committed to advancing licensure for engineers and surveyors in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the American public. NCEES helps its member licensing boards carry out their duties to regulate the professions of engineering and surveying. It develops best practice models for state licensure laws and regulations and promotes uniformity among the states. It develops and administers the exams used for engineering and surveying licensure throughout the country. It also provides services to help licensed engineers and surveyors.

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