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Alberto Torres, Civil Engineer

Senior Civil Engineering major Alberto Torres is team leader of his senior project group, as well as a member of Humanitarian Engineering (he previously served as Vice President), ASCE and Tau Beta Pi, (he previously served as Treasurer). He has also had many jobs on campus, including Spanish Oral Hour Leader, Summer Research Assistant (MUSE), and Civil Department Laboratory Assistant.

After graduation in May, Alberto says that he hopes to attend Graduate school to get a PhD in Structural Engineering. At the moment, he has high prospects of attending Michigan University. He says his reasoning for going to graduate school is to further his love of knowledge and helping to educate others when he can, “With a PhD, I would be able to join an academic institution and teach undergraduate students what I have learned at TCNJ. Beyond teaching, I would also love to conduct important meaningful research. I believe that one can never stop learning, and research is just another way to expand one’s knowledge by learning something that no one else has discovered.”

Alberto credits TCNJ School of Engineering for not only teaching him the subjects that are crucial for Civil Engineering, but also for teaching him how to work with his peers, “Whether it was a project or just checking homework, working with peers has been an integral part of my undergraduate experience. And working with others is always beneficial for both parties. Even if one person does not understand something and the other is explaining it, both sides gain from that experience.”

He also credits his professors for always challenging him to work harder, instead of just creating simple problems that do not challenge one to think. “I believe this has allowed me to get a lot more out of my degree,” Alberto says, “and will be crucial when I go on to graduate school.”

Alberto’s senior project group; from left to right: Peter Johnson, Daniel Quiroga, Leon Collins, Lauren Santullo and Alberto Torres

One of his professors, Dr. Horst, thinks very highly him, stating that, “Alberto is an ideal representative for the civil engineering student body. He is intelligent, hard-working, motivated and has a very friendly and approachable personality.”

Alberto’s senior project is a redesign of a 350 foot vehicular bridge, named Hubbard’s Bridge, but more formally known as Bridge S-17. It is located in Monmouth County, NJ and spans the Swimming River, connecting Middletown and Red Bank.

For the redesign, his team decided to eliminate the vehicular bridge and convert it into a pedestrian bridge. Alberto’s role is to work on the structural design of the pedestrian bridge, including deciding what type of bridge to build, determining the loads that will be applied to the bridge, and designing the deck, beam, girders and piers. At this point in the semester, his team has finished the majority of the design.
Alberto has received a number of scholarships throughout his years at TCNJ. He was awarded the Ocean County Society of Professional Engineers Scholarship, for being a student who lives in Ocean County seeking an undergraduate degree in engineering. They award the scholarship based on financial need and academic excellence.

He also received a scholarship from the Southern New Jersey American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE), which is known as the highway industry networking organization, and from the NJ Chapter of the American Concrete Institute, which is one of the most important organizations in structural engineering. The ACI creates the main specifications for concrete design in the United States. The scholarship Alberto was awarded is in the name of William S. Phelan, who has been very activate in the NJ chapter and made many contributions to the concrete industry in general.

In addition, he was also awarded the Capital Steel Scholarship, fulfilled by a local steel fabricator, Capital Steel. Alberto says that steel production and its quality is very important to the Civil engineering industry, and they are even the source of one of the Civil Department’s newest additions: a gigantic steel load frame.

Alberto also won a scholarship from the Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi. He says that even though the TCNJ New Jersey Zeta chapter is only a few years old, every student TBP member is eligible for the scholarship.

He held the position of Treasurer of the chapter at the time of winning, and only 100 students in the honor society are awarded. Of those who won, 17 were Civil Engineers, and three of those were students from TCNJ. The other two winners, Leon Collins and Lauren Santullo, are in Alberto’s senior project group. “Having won the scholarships, I think we brought a certain level of prestige to our small chapter, while also proving that Civil Engineers work just as hard as the other engineering disciplines, says Alberto.

Alberto notes that for all of these scholarships, the committees that review the applications are looking for students who have demonstrated inside and outside the classroom that they are dedicated and willing to put forth 110% effort. They hope that someday, they will be able to help out the Civil Engineering industry and positively impact our society.

He says that applications had to show that the student had a very welled planned out path in their future. Letters of recommendation had to be meaningful and unique, so it is crucial that one chooses professors who know you well. “And for every scholarship I won,” Alberto says, “there was always one or two that I didn’t. It’s about perseverance and knowing that you have what it takes to be selected to win these scholarships.”