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

Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014

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,” explains Philip Gerhart, UE Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “The competitions add a degree of realism and significance to the student’s 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

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