Passionate About Civil Engineering: Meet Mathew Young

Matthew Young was named the Outstanding Senior in Civil Engineering by the Newark College of Engineering

 Matthew Young loves civil engineering.  It’s a major, he says, that teaches you how to design a variety of structures such as highways, foundations and water systems.  And what he especially likes about civil engineering is this: Students learn to design and evaluate each part of a building – the beams, the columns, the weight-bearing walls – and make sure they are safe.

“As a civil engineering student,” says Mathew, “I’ve learned to take a conceptual plan from an architect and design the skeleton of the building, so that it is safe for the people who’ll live in it.  Civil engineering is a hands-on major that also requires precise calculations and I love every aspect of it.”

And perhaps that’s why he’s so good at it.  His professors describe him as bright and inquisitive with a keen analytical mind, and say he’s one of the best students they’ve had in decades.  He has a near perfect grade-point average -- a 3.91 – and he has two NJIT scholarships. He also belongs to two engineering honor societies. To honor his achievements, the Newark College of Engineering (NCE) recently named Matthew the Outstanding Senior in civil engineering.

He’s not only a good student, but also a good researcher. Professor John Schuring invited Matthew to work on a research project, sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, which will help evaluate the foundations of bridges.

Bridge foundations are usually built under the soil of river beds. Over time, though, water erodes the soil and jeopardizes a bridge’s foundation.   Engineers have a calculation they use to evaluate such erosion.  But Matthew, working with a team of professors and students, is developing a new calculation.  If the research succeeds, civil engineers across the state will use the new calculation to evaluate the structural integrity of New Jersey’s bridges. 

Matthew also co-authored an academic paper on the calculation, which he’ll present at the upcoming Conference on Bridge Scour and Erosion in San Francisco.

In the fall, he’ll begin a master’s degree in structural engineering at Lehigh University.  After that, he plans to earn his professional engineer license and work as a structural engineer in New Jersey.    

During the recent NCE awards ceremony, where he was named the college’s top civil engineering student, Matthew expressed thanks for those who helped him.

“I’d be remiss,” he said, “if I didn’t thank NCE, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and my professors. They have given me so many opportunities to learn.  I hope one day to work as a structural engineer who’ll help the state improve its aging infrastructure. That would be my way of using all I’ve learned at NJIT about civil engineering to contribute to the betterment of society.” 

(By Robert Florida, University Web Services)