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April 2018

The UH Manoa ASCE Student Chapter took 52 students and their faculty advisor, Dr. Roger Babcock, to participate in 10 technical and 11 non-technical events at the ASCE Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) at Arizona State University on April 12 – April 14, 2018.  The team placed 7th overall in the conference of 18 schools with a total of 1,500 students total.   The Steel Bridge team won 4th place overall, including 2nd place for display, 4th place for lightness, and 6th place for speed, stiffness, economy and efficiency.  The Concrete Canoe team placed 12th overall, and 4th in race event points with 4th in Men’s sprints, 4th in Women’s sprints, 7th in coed sprints, 4th in Men’s slalom, and 5th in Women’s slalom. Leah Miyasato placed 1st in the Technical Paper competition, the Geowall event team placed 3rd, the Transportation Design event team placed 9th, the Design Build Construction team placed 10th, and the Sustainability event team placed 10th.  The entire team worked very hard preparing for this annual conference and all were great competitors in Tempe AZ. The PSWC is the largest ASCE conference in the USA and the most competitive.  The UHM Conference co-Chairs were Arilyn Au and Jeff Zheng who worked tirelessly to ensure everything worked out well and everyone had a good time.  The chapter was led in this past year by the following officers: President – Leah Miyasato; Vice-President – David Nemoto; Treasurer – Cathryne Kimura; Recording Secretary – Charlie Belmes; and Corresponding Secretary – Yasmeen Mansour.

The Student Chapter is very grateful to the 30 companies, the College of Engineering, ASCE Hawaii Section, and UH Manoa SAPFB who together made donations/grants totaling over $40,000 to help enable the team to prepare for and participate in PSWC in Tempe AZ this year.


UH research on traffic safety. Initial tests with professional taxi drivers on a driving simulator for driving and reading text. Team lead by Dr. Panos Prevedouros assisted by graduate students Kishor Bhatta, Mintu Miah, and Rafaella Melo.


Congratulations to MS student Manuela Melo who was awarded a Design-Build Institute of America (Western Pacific Region) scholarship. Ms. Melo came to the UH from Brazil to study in the area of construction management. Her advisor is Dr. Amarjit Singh, and her Master’s research project is on the “Installation of Asphalt Strain Gauges in a Taxiway.”



We are very proud of Dr. Michael Foley for being named as one of Pacific Business News’ 40 Under 40 for 2018. Dr. Foley earned his Ph.D. at our department under the direction of Dr. Amarjit Singh. He studied the application of submerged breakwaters (artificial reefs) designed to provide coastal and harbor protection. Dr. Foley works at the large local technology firm OCEANIT, where he leads the firm’s Resilient Sustainable Engineering (RiSE) team which develops projects to “produce innovative solutions that interweave usability and aesthetics with practical solutions for Hawai’i.” Congratulations!


We are saddened by the passing of our graduate, benefactor and prominent local civil engineer Don Kim. Mr. Kim graduated from our department with a degree in civil engineering in 1958. He also chaired the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii, presided over the University of Hawaii Alumni Association, and served as a trustee of the University of Hawaii Foundation. In the mid 1990s, Dr. Kim made a very generous gift to the College of Engineering to develop the 1,000 ft2 Don Kim Lab, the most advanced teaching and software demonstration lab at the UH at that time. The lab is still in regular operation. Don Kim played a significant role in the engineering and management of several local firms, as detailed in his obituary. A University of Hawaii In Memoriam Don Kim has also been created.


The department facilitated a hands-on demonstration by U-Haul on driving safely while towing a trailer. Over 100 UH students had a hands-on experience on the simulator with correct and incorrect loading of the trailer.


Captain Kristin A Dembia was awarded the highly selective 2018 ARCS Bretzlaff Scholarship.  From Hamilton, Virginia, Kristin is proud to serve as the Operations Flight Commander for AFROTC Detachment 175, at the University of Hawaii.  She commissioned as an Air Force Civil Engineer in 2012 with a BSCE in Structures from the Ohio State University and MSCE in Water Resource Management from Colorado State University. She’s currently pursuing her PhD study in Environmental Engineering at CEE. Her research centers on urban storm water management with focus on Green Roof system design, model development and optimization using a two-part catchment system with guidance by Dr. Roger Babcock Jr.

Founded in 1974, the Honolulu chapter of ARCS has awarded more than $1.7 million to doctoral students in science, mathematics, engineering, medicine and nursing at the University of Hawaii.

Congratulations to Kristin and Mahalo to Honolulu ARCS!

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