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Ohio University student wins three nationally competitive awards

ATHENS, Ohio (June 9, 2006) -- Ohio University student Blake Andrews has been selected as a Tau Beta Pi Fellow, an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Arthur S. Tuttle Scholar and a Dwight D. Eisenhower Graduate Fellow. Andrews, a senior civil engineering major, will receive $10,000 from Tau Beta Pi, $2000 from ASCE and $62,300 from the Eisenhower Institute in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Rick Fatica"Blake may be the most determined kid I've ever met," said James Thompson, assistant professor of civil engineering. "He is an exemplary engineering student in terms of academic achievement. He's also very active in extra-curricular activities in the department and in the college."

Andrews served as president of the fledgling chapter of the Ohio University Civil Engineering Honor Society and helped establish it as an official chapter of Chi Epsilon. He was vice president and secretary of the Ohio University Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, activity coordinator for Engineering Ambassadors and treasurer of the Ohio Delta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi. During his senior year, Andrews was one of 16 students in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology selected as a Robe Leadership Institute Scholar.

"I simply love to learn; love to know how things work," Andrews said. "I would like to do research on far-reaching topics such as designing structures to withstand extreme environments."

His undergraduate research and skill application includes participation in the Steel Bridge Competition, for which he helped design, construct and test a 25-foot-long steel bridge; and the Big Beam Competition, for which he helped design, construct, analyze and test a 20-foot-long pre-stressed concrete beam.

Andrews also spent a year at the Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs as an Undergraduate Research Scholar, working with Tiao Jen Chang, professor of civil engineering, to conduct hydrologic research into river channel geometry and its relation to watershed and pipe culvert characteristics in Ohio.

"I learned much about the ambiguous nature of research," Andrews said of his experience at the Voinovich Center. "Often I would ask Dr. Chang what I should look for in the data, and he would tell me to look for whatever I thought was interesting or significant. This required me to adjust my thinking from a refined, practical engineering viewpoint to a more creative and exploratory one."

Andrews will apply his award funds toward a master's degree in civil engineering, with structures specialization, at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. After graduation, Andrews will either pursue a doctoral degree and secure a teaching position at a university, or pursue opportunities in a growing, technology-oriented company that can provide leadership training and assist him in earning his professional engineer's license. His long-term career goal, he says, is to become a leader in an engineering organization that shares his values.

"I feel that I have developed a capacity for successful graduate study and professional practice from my experiences at Ohio University," Andrews said. "Beyond traditional classroom and lab work, these experiences include research, cooperative education work and leadership."

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Media Contact: Media Relations Specialist Jessica Stark, (740) 597-2938 or starkj@ohio.edu

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