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My Experience with the Grand Challenge

Thursday, July 25, 2019

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I joined the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in fall 2016 as a graduate research assistant and Ph.D. student. I earned my Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt in 2012. I was ranked 4th in a class of 342 students. I worked as a structural design engineer for three years before joining the same university to obtain my Master of Science degree in structural engineering in 2016. I joined ASCE as a student member after my first year at Missouri S&T and started attending ASCE student chapter meetings. Every meeting we had the chance to hear from ASCE members from different companies about their experiences. I was honored to be elected vice president of the ASCE student chapter for fall 2019. I heard about the ASCE Innovation Contest and decided to enter the competition. My research is focused on impact protection of bridge structures using meta-material elements and that's how our idea started. We are using meta-material panels to dissipate the impact energy resulting from collision events, and have a patent pending for this technology. Our team also previously won second place in Missouri S&T Entrepreneurial competition which motivated us to apply for the ASCE Innovation Contest. 

We were honored to be selected as the winner for the New Construction Materials and Methodology category and received an invitation to participate in the ASCE Grand Challenge. There we had the chance to pitch our idea in front of industry leaders and engineers, engage in discussions, and receive very useful feedback from the audience. Also, we had the chance to engage with ASCE leaders and industry leaders in closed meetings to get some advice on our idea and how to develop it. The event was very valuable for our team and opened the way for new opportunities for us. We are looking forward to participating in upcoming ASCE/SEI events. Our future goal is to start a company, get our products to the market, and see it used on different structures on highways and roads.

By: Yasser Darwish, S.M.ASCE