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      ASCE Recognizes 2020 New Faces of Civil Engineering: College Edition

      February 13, 2020

      RESTON, Va. - The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)  has announced the 10 2020 New Faces of Civil Engineering in the College category. ASCE's New Faces of Civil Engineering program highlights up-and-coming civil engineering leaders from around the country and celebrates their academic achievements, as well as their commitment to serving others. 

      "We are thrilled to recognize the 2020 New Faces of Civil Engineering, who represent the next wave of ingenuity in our field," said Kancheepuram N. Gunalan "Guna", Ph.D., PE, D.GE, F.ASCE, President, American Society of Civil Engineers. "The talents showcased by these engineers through their educational and extracurricular achievements is cause for overwhelming optimism about the future of our industry." 

      The 2020 New Faces of Civil Engineering in the College category are: 

      • Abigail Cowser assisted with bridge construction projects in Bolivia and Rwanda with Penn State University's chapter of Engineers in Action: Bridge Program and conducted water quality research in Vietnam. Cowser has served as cultural relations officer, project manager and treasurer in the Engineers in Action: Bridge Program, Penn State University chapter; cross cultural competency committee chair for the Engineers in Action: Bridge Program (national organization); secretary of ACI; and research assistant for the Food-Energy-Water (FEWs), Critical Infrastructure, and Environmental Lab. Cowser attends Penn State University.
      • Matthew Cristi serves as his university's ASCE Student Chapter President and co-project manager of his chapter's ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition. Cristi was also recognized as the ASCE LA Section Outstanding Student Member of the Year in 2019. Cristi is a transportation engineering intern for Psomas, helping the Greater Los Angeles community develop street rehabilitation and bikeway projects. He attends California State University, Northridge.
      • Kacy Grundhauser is a Water Intern with HDR Inc., working in the field on stormwater monitoring, water sampling and wetland delineation. Raised in Alaska, her current work and career prospects are inspired by the nature she's grown up around and her desire to protect it. She now serves as ASCE Student Chapter President at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is also a contributing member of the ASCE Alaska Section and Anchorage Branch officer boards.
      • Matthew Jacobson was an intern at Kimley Horn and Associates, Inc. in the summer of 2019, where he adopted transportation as his discipline of study in the civil engineering field. As an intern, Jacobson worked on numerous land development projects in the Inland Empire region of California. Within the California State Polytechnic University ASCE Student Chapter, Jacobson has served as President and Alumni Relations Events Chair. Under his leadership, the chapter raised over $41,000 through an alumni golf tournament that contributed to their Concrete Canoe and Geowall teams.
      • Kathryn Kalbfleisch is the Vice President of Activities for the University of Louisville ASCE Student Chapter. She is also involved in the AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition, leading the Truss Design team from an administrative and financial standpoint. Kalbfleisch also holds executive board positions in the Society of Women Engineers and Speed Spectrum, an organization for LGBTQ students in STEM and has been working at Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities Energy LLC while taking classes.
      • Althea McDavid is a Caribbean national whose dreams of studying civil engineering led her to attend the University of South Florida in Tampa Bay. She designed the hull for the USF ASCE Concrete Canoe team and is the academic excellence chair for the National Society of Black Engineers. She works as an intern at Landis Evans and Partners, working on site development projects and putting together construction plans and transportation design projects. McDavid's interest in transportation projects has been fueled by this role.
      • Wakil Pranto is pursuing a career in structural engineering, having interned at HDR and Kiewit. He is currently the Vice President of University at Buffalo's ASCE Student Chapter, contributing as a mix design leader for their Concrete Canoe team and was named ASCE Student of the Year and an ASCE Model Member. His leadership and integrity were on full display when he organized an event by ASCE this past summer to honor fellow civil engineering student Hannah Bocker, who was in critical condition following an accident in her hometown. Pranto has also served as a construction volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and as the professional development chair for Theta Tau, a professional co-ed engineering fraternity.
      • Sofia Savoca grew up in Venezuala, aspiring to be a civil engineer since the third grade. Her lifelong goal of coming to the United States to obtain an engineering degree was realized when she received an International Merit Scholarship from University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UML). She is the president of the UML ASCE Student Chapter, secretary of the Student Society for Sustainability, member of the Chi Epsilon National Civil Engineering Honors Society and 2019 Student Leader of the Year nominee.
      • Maxx Taga is a jack of all trades, having interned at NASA, Disneyland and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command at Pearl Harbor, while also working on visual effects on films such as Fantastic Four and The Revenant; he is also a football analyst for Pro Football Focus. At the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Taga is an Honor Society member and Engineering Student Council executive board member. He has also participated in the ASCE Construction Institute Student Days Competition.
      • Michael Tormey has worked as a transportation and infrastructure planner for the Boston Planning and Development Agency, where he led the redesign of a confusing grid layout in a Boston neighborhood. He also spent time with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, designing the implementation of safety improvements to prevent automotive collisions. Tormey attends Northeastern University and is involved in its ASCE Student Chapter.   

      For media availability and interviews with the 2020 New Faces, please contact Kevin Longley by email or phone, at: (202) 701-8768.


      Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation's infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel.