Civil engineering faculty member selected for ASEE early career award

July 9, 2024 - by Kim Delker

photo: Anjali Mulchandani holds her award at the ASEE conference with (from left) Sydney Donohue Jobe, Kamryn Zachek and Ethan Kapp.
Anjali Mulchandani holds her award at the ASEE conference with (from left) Sydney Donohue Jobe, Paris Eisenman and Ethan Kapp.

Anjali Mulchandani, an assistant professor in the Gerald May Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at UNM, has been selected for a national award that recognizes early career faculty.

Mulchandani received the 2024 Gerald R. Seeley Early Career Faculty Best Paper Award, given by the Civil Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The award was presented at a banquet on June 25 at the ASEE Annual Conference in Portland, Ore.

The title of the winning paper was "The Role of Socio-technical Design Challenges in the Early Formation of Civil Engineers,” co-authored by Sydney Donohue Jobe, Madalyn Wilson-Fetrow, Ruben Lopez-Parra, Paris Eisenman, Ethan Kapp, Carl Abadam and Vanessa Svihla. The paper described how the team redesigned the CE160L - Civil Engineering Design course to feature two sociotechnical design challenges: one on addressing acid mine drainage in the Southwestern United States, and one on designing and testing concrete mixes for the American Society of Civil Engineers concrete canoe competition. The findings demonstrated how design challenges can promote professional formation of civil engineers through development of engineering identity, sense of belonging to the profession, and motivations to pursue civil engineering and continue to persist in the degree and career.

Jobe, Eisenman and Kapp gave a presentation on this paper during the civil engineering technical session at the conference. Also at the conference, Kamryn Zachek, one of Mulchandani’s students, presented her paper titled “Promoting Undergraduate Student Self-Efficacy in Research through Participation in a Multidisciplinary Science Communication Fellowship.” Other authors for the paper were Sydney Donohue Jobe and Mulchandani.

The Gerald R. Seeley Early Career Faculty Best Paper Award winners receive a $500 honorarium and a certificate. The award was created to encourage civil engineering faculty members new in the field to become active in the civil engineering division of ASEE.

Mulchandani joined UNM in 2021 and was one of the inaugural Teaching Innovation Fellows in spring 2024 for work on the CE160L course redesign and work on the conference paper. Her research is focused on finding solutions for our water crisis. Along with Sydney Donohue Jobe, education specialist for the Center for Water and the Environment, she started the Water Science Communication Fellowship in 2022. The program pairs undergraduate students with faculty and students across disciplines to develop a creative communication project around water science that is understandable to a general audience.