In January, Dr. Steve Perkins retired from the Department after 30 years of service. During his tenure at MSU, Dr. Perkins made significant contributions to the university and the geotechnical engineering profession. Steve is a recognized expert in the use of geosynthetics. He served as the principal investigator on 47 research grants funded by state and national agencies.

Awards and Activites

The Department of Civil Engineering family continues to excel both in and outside of the university. Individuals receiving specific recognition include:

  • Otto Stein received the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering (NACOE) Distinguished Professor Award for his contribution as a thought leader in alternative wastewater treatment systems, specifically constructed wetlands. Much of his wetland work has involved significant technology transfer, applying innovative science to the construction and operation of full-scale treatment systems in Montana (including a pioneering system at Bridger Bowl).
  • Professor Anders Larsson received the NACOE Excellence in Outreach Award Over the last two decades, Anders has effectively become the Civil Engineering Department’s de facto outreach ambassador, planning and executing outreach activities for the Department, College and University across a wide range of events.
  • Maddy Pernat and Abigail Murray received the MSU Alumni Foundation Award for Excellence recognizing them as two of the top 40 graduates from MSU.
  • Ethan Starbuck, a Spring 2021 CET graduate was the national high scoreon the Associate Constructor Level 1 exam.  
  • Cash Cota, a civil engineering graduate from Roundup, MT was named the 2022 Montana Society of Engineers outstanding student.
  • Bret Martin and adjunct faculty member Chad Welborn traveled with 32 students the annual Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) estimating competition held in Reno, Nevada in January. Our students competed against the biggest construction schools in the country (over 54 schools participated). Due to Bret’s and Chad’s commitment to our students, we took second place in the mixed-use category and first place in the alternate competition. Our teams were also competitive in the heavy civil, commercial and concrete solutions competitions.
  • With a new grant from the National Science Foundation, Professors Ellen Lauchnor, Adie Phillips, Cat Kirkland and Katey Plymesser are working to transform the undergraduate environmental engineering degree to better position graduates to excel in professional practice and serve communities. The nearly $1 million, five-year funding through NSF's Revolutionizing Engineering Departments program will allow several MSU faculty to focus on developing innovative curricula as well as for research and evaluation that could make the MSU degree a model for other programs.

Student Professional Organizations are Thriving

Our student professional organizations have recovered from the COVID shutdown stronger than ever.  Some highlights include:

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This spring, our ASCE student chapter (pictured above with canoe) took top honors in the Rocky Mountain Regional competition by winning theconcrete canoe competitionfor the first time since 2004!  For months students researched and experimented with materials for fashioning the hull, designing a mix that included tiny bubble-filled beads of recycled glass, lightweight particles of shale, plastic fibers and a specialized binder creating a strong and stable canoe with an overall weight of just 184 pounds. Read the MSU News story.

Students from our Associated General Contractors and American Society of Civil Engineers student chapters participated in the Bozeman Sunrise Rotary Fix-Up-Festival where they used their construction skills to improve the homes of  deserving Bozeman.

Our students ITE student chapter made an epic field trip to Las Vegas where they learned about the transportation system from MSU Alumni. Six student members also attended the Mountain District Annual Meeting in Boise where they competed in the Traffic Bowl competition and were presented with the Momentum Award for the most improved student chapter.

ASCE Regional Competition

Please consider supporting the ASCE Student Chapter as it Celebrates 100 Years by Hosting the Regional Competition. 

The MSU ASCE Student Chapter was established in 1922!  To celebrate 100 years of providing opportunities for student development, MSU chapter will be hosting (along with student chapter from Carroll College, Montana Tech and MSU Northern) the Pacific Northwest Symposium in April 14-15, 2013. This event will bring approximately 300 students from 19 universities in the Pacific Northwest for a lively 2-day symposium that will include concrete canoe, steel bridge, and other competitions and student interactions that promote civil engineering.

As hosts of the symposium, our Montana schools are responsible for a substantial amount of the conference expenses. Your donation will help make this symposium successful and help us provide a first-class experience for the students in our region. There are several sponsorship packages with benefits including company logo on banquet program and t-shirt, company/individual name listed in post-symposium article, tickets to attend the banquet, and more. You can find more information and make your donation using the following link (click “New Registration/Sponsorship” button to get started):

Thank you for everything you do to promote and enhance civil engineering and to support our future engineers! We look forward to hearing from you!

New Scholarship in Honor of Leland Walker

Leland Jasper Walker, born in Fallon, Nevada spent the majority of his life living in Montana, outside of his time in service to the country. Walker began his degree in Civil Engineering at the University until his studies were disrupted by WWII. After enlisting in the Navy’s V12 College Training Program, Walker completed his accelerated engineering degree at Iowa State and later continued to put his education to good use when called back to service during the Korean conflict where he served at the Civil Engineering Research and Evaluation Laboratory in Port Hueneme, California. His career in civil engineering began with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and progressed all the way to level of leadership when he co-founded the Northern Testing Laboratories, a geotechnical consulting firm with offices in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.  Walker’s family establishes this scholarship in Leland’s name to continue his legacy of leadership and passion for education in the field of civil engineering.  For more information on contributing to the Walker scholarship fund contact Craig Woolard at 406-994-7402 or by email at [email protected].

Help Support Our Students - Building the Future Parnters

The future of civil engineering, environmental engineering and construction engineering technology is changing quickly. Aging infrastructure, new materials, climate risks and a convergence of technologies are reshaping how we design, build, operate and maintain our infrastructure.  There has never been a more exciting time to be a student in the Department of Civil Engineering. And there has never been a more challenging time to educate tomorrow’s engineers with the technical and power skills they need for success.

Our Building the Future initiative is an effort to build a collaborative partnership between Montana State University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction Engineering Technology programs and our partners in the industry. Our goal is to provide a workforce of well-prepared engineers ready to work in Montana and beyond.

As a partner, you can provide transformational support for:

  • Scholarships at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Scholarships make it financially viable for students to focus on coursework and participate in educational activities outside the classroom. Many students could not complete their degrees without the financial support provided through scholarships.
  • Provide high quality, high impact experiences that includes supporting student participation in professional societies and engineering competitions, conducting field trips to engineering and construction projects, supporting student participation in professional conferences and training events and provide opportunities for international exchange programs.
  • Ensuring our faculty are trained on new engineering tools, techniques and industry trends. With the current pace of change, faculty need to continually update their knowledge and skills to provide relevant education.
  • Enhancing our curriculum by bringing practitioners into the classroom. Many practicing professionals are eager to share their knowledge with MSU students. Resources to facilitate the development and delivery of courses (existing and new) by practicing professionals keeps our curriculum current and unique. And it allows us to rapidly respond to evolving workplace needs.
  • Improving our laboratories, equipment and software to stay current with industry needs.

If you would like more information about the Department’s Partners Program, please contact Craig Woolard at 406-994-7402 or by email at [email protected].