March 2017 – Spotlight

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Santa Clara Student named to ASCE 2017 Faces of Engineering!

By Krista Clawson

An undergraduate student as Santa Clara University has been nationally recognized for his hard work and dedication in the field of civil engineering.

Senior Damani Nkeiruka was one of 10 college students named by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in their 2017 New Faces of Civil Engineering.

The program promotes the achievement of young civil engineers by highlighting their academic success, volunteerism and dedication to making a positive impact on society through their chosen profession.

Because of the recognition, Nkeiruka is eligible for one of their national representative positions in the New Faces of Engineering program.

Nkeiruka became interested in infrastructure at a young age. While in high school, the Seattle native became interested in civil engineering when the city announced plans to build a two-mile underground tunnel.

“It was all over the news and Internet and I was really interested in it,” he said. “So I did some research and found out that civil engineers were in charge of designing things like that.”

Nkeiruka is the current president of Santa Clara’s ASCE chapter, and previously held the position of treasurer. As treasurer, he attended an ASCE student leadership conference in Anchorage, Alaska—a decision that later proved beneficial for his career.

“That conference opened my eyes to the many opportunities and benefits of ASCE post-college,” he said.

At the conference, Nkeiruka met an engineer that worked for Transpo Group, a civil engineering company. Nkeiruka gave the engineer his resume and after a few interviews, was offered a transportation engineering internship in Kirkland, Washington for the summer of 2016.

He said that internship taught him about the process of producing design plans, and allowed him to gain hundreds of hours of experience using specific engineering software.

After he graduates this June, Nkeiruka will be working as a full-time transportation engineer for Transpo Group in Seattle. He has also been in contact with the ASCE Seattle branch about being involved with their professional group. Nkeiruka said that Santa Clara has greatly fostered his love for civil engineering.

“We have amazing civil engineering faculty at (Santa Clara). They all strive to enhance our skills and knowledge in the field,” he said. “More importantly, they show enthusiasm for every student’s passion.”

Reynaud Serrette of the Civil Engineering Department has worked with Nkeiruka in a variety of capacities during his time at Santa Clara.

As his instructor, research supervisor and ASCE student chapter advisor, Serrette has gotten to know him quite well.

Serrette characterized Nkeiruka as an “outstanding networker,” and is very proud of his “phenomenal and deserving” accomplishment with ASCE.

Nkeiruka said he plans to eventually become a professional engineer and continue to progress in the field as well as in ASCE.

“I owe a lot of my successes in college to ASCE and would love to continue being a part of the society,” he said.

Nkeiruka currently works on campus for the Civil Engineering Department as a lab assistant, as well as for Campus Recreation as an intramural referee and supervisor. He also tries to stay involved with the department in his free time.

“It’s inspiring to see the next generation of civil engineers role model such passion and dedication for civil engineering through their studies and activities,” ASCE President Norma Jean Mattei said in a press release.

Contact Krista Clawson at or call (408) 554-4852.


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