LTU team wins engineering education award

SOUTHFIELD—A student team from Lawrence Technological University has won a $10,000 Grand Prize in the annual Engineering Education Award competition held by NCEES, the National Council of Examiners in Engineering and Surveying.

The students won the prize for their design of a reconstruction of a 4,500-foot-long stretch of I-475 in Flint that would include the installation of a roundabout at the intersection of Dort Highway and Stewart Avenue just east of a freeway exit. In their presentations, students noted that the intersection now is the site of numerous accidents, which would be reduced by the roundabout. A new community park would also be added near the intersection, and updated crosswalks would be installed.

The winning entry was the capstone senior design project in LTU’s Bachelor of Science in civil engineering program. Members of Team Civil Express were team captain Nathan Staple of Vassar, and Jessica Bettley of Milford, Blane Johnston of Grayling, and Pedro Lorenzo Garcia Orellana of Tres Cantos, Spain.

The project included construction cost estimates, schedules, and project management plans, along with traffic safety and efficiency studies, bridge load studies, stormwater management planning, and minimizing environmental impact by using recycled materials wherever possible.

The project was supervised by LTU faculty members and licensed engineering professionals. It included presentations, reports, and display board submittals.

Staple said he got interested in engineering through high school robotics competitions, and picked LTU for college because “I was coming from a small school, so I was looking for a more personal experience, and I knew Lawrence Tech would have that compared to the larger schools.” He also praised LTU’s “great civil engineering faculty” where a student can “always go directly to professors to ask questions or do more research and explore the field.”

Staple, Johnston, and Orellana graduated from LTU in May and all now have engineering jobs. Staple is now a field engineer at Plymouth-based Soil and Materials Engineers Inc., working on road construction projects similar to the ones in the NCEES-winning project. Bettley is graduating in December.

The mission of NCEES is to advance licensure for engineers and surveyors to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the public. This mission is supported through its member boards, board of directors, staff, board administrators, and volunteers, by: providing outstanding,  nationally normed examinations for engineers and surveyors; providing uniform model laws and rules for adoption by member boards; promoting professional ethics among all engineers and surveyors; and coordinating with domestic and international organizations to advance licensure of all engineers and surveyors. More at

Lawrence Technological University,, is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.