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2014 National Daniel W. Mead Student Contest



Established in 1939 in honor of the 67th President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the contest provides an opportunity for alert young civil engineers to further their professional development and gain national attention.

AWARD: Up to five winners will receive cash prizes (1st place $1000, 2nd place $800, 3rd place $600, 4th place $400, 5th place $200).

TOPIC: "Natural Disasters – What are the Civil Engineer’s Responsibilities?"

The following can be used to stimulate, but should in no way limit, the discussion:
In the built environment, there has been and will continue to be ongoing development in areas that are prone to natural disasters. From floods and storms to earthquakes and forest fires, natural disasters are costly both in terms of human suffering and financial resources. Despite the risks associate with building in such areas, demand for public and private development in them continues to grow. As stewards of the built environment, what responsibility do civil engineers have in this continued growth? Consider the following ethical questions. 

  • What are the ethical responsibilities for planning future civil engineering projects in natural disaster prone areas?
  • What are the potential ethical issues in determining design codes, recommendations and parameters to prevent damage in natural disasters?
  • What are the ethical issues involved when attempting to predict natural disaster frequency or return periods?
  •  What are the ethical obligations of civil engineers when advising clients engaged in development in natural disaster prone areas?

RULES: Papers are not to exceed 2,000 words in length, must be written by only one person, and should not have appeared in any publications other than in school or chapter publications. Reference citations of the papers should conform to official ASCE Journal Submission Guidelines, which can be found on the ASCE Publications website:,--Editors/Journals/Authors/Resources-for-Authors/

Entries for the contest shall be limited to one paper from each ASCE or AEI Student Organization and must be submitted through the Faculty Advisor. Authors must be undergraduate students, Student Organization members in good standing, and ASCE and/or AEI members in good standing at the time of submission and at the time the award is made to be considered. Entries should include a cover letter from the Faculty Advisor stating the name, ASCE/AEI member ID number, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail of the paper's author. Send entries to

Entries were received March 1, 2014.

SELECTION: Selection was made by the ASCE National Committee on Student Members.

Questions should be directed to Student Services at