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Titan Spotlight

Associate VP Receives National Recognition for Mentorship, Commitment to Civil Engineering

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The American Society of Civil Engineers, the largest engineering society in the nation, awarded its 2022 Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award to Binod Tiwari, associate vice president for research and sponsored projects, for his commitment to advancing the science and profession of engineering.

One of the society’s most prestigious awards, the honor recognizes Tiwari, who is also a professor of civil and environmental engineering, for his years of mentoring young civil engineers and serving on committees to advance the geotechnical engineering profession, according to Jane Alspach, director of honors and awards at ASCE.

Since 2006, Tiwari has supervised nearly 250 high school, community college, undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in various research projects, which have resulted in more than 260 publications.

“Seven of his former students have obtained, or are obtaining, their doctoral degrees; two have joined tenure track academic positions, and a third is currently applying to such positions,” Alspach said. “These students have been heavily engaged in ongoing research projects related to Dr. Tiwari’s research interests.”

One of Tiwari’s most notable contributions in advancing geotechnical engineering is serving for six years as director of the GeoChallenges, a series of five annual competitions that attract graduate and undergraduate students internationally to participate in friendly, high‐energy events that expose them to the geotechnical engineering profession and engages them in the community.

“The GeoChallenge are among the most successful ASCE programs that feature students to ASCE members, both from academia as well as industry,” Tiwari said.

The ASCE has presented the Friedman Award since 1960 to recognize the “importance of professional attainment in the advancement of the science and profession of engineering,” and all 150,000 members of the organization are eligible to receive it, according to the ASCE website.

Criteria include: exemplary professional conduct in a specific outstanding instance; professional guidance of qualified young people who choose civil engineering as a career; and lasting achievement in improving the conditions under which professional engineers serve in public and private practice. Tiwari was nominated on behalf of the society’s student participation committee by its chair.

“When I saw the names of past 62 recipients of this award, in the past 62 years, I was amazed and felt appreciative that ASCE thought of me to be qualified to join the list of such well-respected individuals in civil engineering profession,” Tiwari said. “This recognition is a testimony of the civil engineering education and practice we follow at CSUF. This will definitely open doors for our faculty colleagues in the department, and our students to open our conversation with other civil engineering colleagues in the region, country and beyond.”

Tiwari said he is honored to receive the award, but mostly proud of the work that got him nominated, most notably working with CSUF students as they competed in GeoChallenges. They are consistently invited to the national competitions and have received the top three awards in all competitions in multiple years, including first place in Geowall, GeoPoster and GeoShirt.

“In the past 16 years as a Titan, I have mentored hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students who have shown interests in all five GeoChallenge competitions,” Tiwari said. “In fact, we were national champion for four times, and regional champion for six times, in the GeoWall competition. The interests our students had in these competitions were the main reason for me to volunteer to direct the GeoChallenges. Our students showcased us very well on the global map.”

CSUF Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carolyn Thomas said Tiwari’s honor acknowledges the tremendous success he has had in civil engineering and his commitment to facilitating others’ success – traits he now brings to CSUF as head of the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects.

“This is a very high honor in his field,” Thomas said. “It’s great to see him receiving acknowledgement from his peers for the work he does for civil engineering and in furthering faculty research more broadly. As a campus community, we benefit from his expertise and passion for mentoring and research.”

Christina Cardenas