Engineering student wins third place in national paper contest

By Elizabeth Myers

New Mexico State University engineering graduate student Michelle Estrada-Lopez’s ethical know-how has earned her third place in a national paper competition.

Estrada-Lopez’s paper, “Eminent Domain and the Engineer’s Ethical Responsibilities” was written for the National Daniel W. Mead Student Contest and presented at the regional Concrete Canoe Competition in Boulder, Colo., where it received first place. Then the paper was sent to the national competition, where it also earned Estrada-Lopez a $600 cash award.

The paper cites case studies on eminent domain and explains an engineer’s ethical responsibilities in these situations, which are in the guidelines established by the American Society of Civil Engineers Code of Ethics.

“No engineer should continue to work on a project in which their ethics, specifically those found in the code, will come into question,” Estrada-Lopez wrote. “Not only does this assure that the engineer’s personal integrity will stay intact, but it assures that the engineering profession will continue to be highly regarded by the public.”

Estrada-Lopez graduated with Highest Honors for the College of Engineering in May, and was also the recipient of the university’s 1919 Award, given to the student with the highest academic ranking of all graduating seniors. She will begin work on her master’s degree in civil engineering in the fall.

The National Daniel W. Mead Student Contest was established in 1939 in honor of the 67th president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It provides an opportunity for young civil engineers to further their professional development and gain national attention.

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