Engineers sweep Western Pa. awards

Luis Torres, Copy Editor

Three UPJ students have monopolized this year’s award for engineering technology achievement granted by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The American Bridge Leadership Award commends Western Pennsylvania students who have demonstrated leadership and merit in engineering.

Besides a monetary prize, winners are recognized by Pittsburgh-area professional engineers.

An award banquet took place Feb. 18 in Pittsburgh.

The three UPJ students are Brian Ditzler, Lauren Dziagwa and Matthew Hansen. They beat undergrads from other campuses, including Carnegie Mellon.

This marks an improvement from last year when one UPJ student, Gary Lister, received the award.

Ditzler, a civil engineering major, said he was honored to receive the society recognition.

After graduating, Ditzler said he wants to get his professional engineering license and perhaps move to Columbus, Ohio, where he hopes to work in environmental engineering and water supplies.

“There are many engineering firms there,” he said. “That is where my girlfriend is located, too.”

Ditzler said the Pitt-Johnstown civil engineering faculty is due much of the credit for his success.

“We can’t complain in the least about any of the professors. They definitely push for us to get every ounce of whatever we are capable of.”

Former UPJ Campus Society Chapter president Lauren Dziagwa said she was surprised at receiving the award.

“It’s nice to bring something home for UPJ, for our engineering department. Our professors work hard to make us into the engineers that we’ll become.”

Dziagwa said she hopes to become a structural engineer and work in the Pittsburgh area.

Nourishing partnerships with students, Dziagwa and Ditzler are involved in the Concrete Canoe team. Dziagwa was last year’s co-captain.

Hansen said his goals after graduation are to work for the global infrastructure firm Gannett Fleming and to obtain his professional engineering certificate.

Like Dziagwa, Hansen said he always knew he wanted to be a civil engineer at Pitt-Johnstown.

“I love the faculty and staff,” he said. “(Civil engineering technology at UPJ) is great. I highly recommend it.”