An Indian American environmental and water resources engineer with Virginia-based ARCADIS and a Bangladeshi-based research associate were named among the American Society of Civil Engineers’ New Faces of Civil Engineering.
ASCE recently announced the ‘10 New Faces under the Age of 30,’ which included Rajan Jha and Ariful Hasnat. The 10 individuals were also nominated for DiscoverE’s overall New Faces of Engineering, for which Jha was selected as a winner.
Born in Delhi, Jha, 29, is a graduate of the Punjab Engineering College and Virginia Tech. At Virginia Tech, the Indian American engineer earned a graduate fellowship.
In addition to his time with ARCADIS, where he has been since 2013 working on numerous water-based projects, he has served as a project engineer at Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. in India and was a graduate research assistant at Virginia Tech. Jha is also currently the co-chair of the Central Virginia Chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA and vice president of ASCE's Virginia section.
As a project engineer, he develops environmentally sustainable solutions for water resources, bringing polluted rivers back to healthy ecosystems and rehabilitating and restoring streams and waterways.
His work for ARCADIS involves inspecting more than 5,000 storm water structures and rehabilitating extensive sewer networks, a DiscoverE news release said.
Jha has been honored at the ASCE World Water Congress for his research that collected data from over 1,500 rivers and streams around the world, it added.
The engineer told India-West in an email that, even as a young student, "I had this one dream of becoming a civil engineer and solving the problem of water in developing countries."
And though he says "I always considered myself an average performer who would never be able to achieve big in life," with the ASCE and DiscoverE honors, clearly he has surpassed those considerations.
Hasnat is a graduate of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. In addition to his teaching role at the University of Asia Pacific, Hasnat volunteers as a faculty adviser for a short-term education program that assists children in Bangladesh who are not attending regular schools. It helps provide technology that the children would not likely otherwise have access to, along with organized activities, competitions and trips that help build community and confidence.
He also serves as a research fellow for the Housing and Building Research Institute where he is working on several research projects, including pile capacity analyses and verification through field loading tests, mechanical behavior of polymer concrete and fracture mechanics of locally available concrete aggregate.
Hasnat said in an ASCE report that as a child he remembered his father saying, "If you can build bridges over these rivers, then you can pass it in 10 minutes,” The 7-year-old Hasnat then asked his father who built the bridges and he responded, "civil engineers.”
That conversation impressed him enough that years later, he chose to study structural engineering in Dhaka.
ASCE’s New Faces of Civil Engineering recognition programs highlight the next generation of civil engineering leaders. By showcasing young, diverse, talented engineers the program shows that engineering is an exciting profession open to everyone.