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Sasha Minjarez | March 25, 2021

UTEP Civil Engineering Professor and Graduate Student Honored by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers

UTEP Civil Engineering Professor and Graduate Student Honored by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers


Throughout the years, the quality of education civil engineering students receive at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) reflects in the significant number of civil engineering graduates recognized as TSPE Engineers of the Year.

Over 20 UTEP alumni have received this honor since the award was first conferred in 1956. Additionally, engineering faculty have also received this recognition. Since 1966, TSPE has also been recognizing the achievements of younger engineers with the Young Engineer of the Year award. Over two dozen UTEP civil engineering graduates have been bestowed with this honor.

This year, the University and the Department of Civil Engineering, proudly commemorate 2021 TSPE Engineer of the Year, Soheil Nazarian, Ph.D., P.E., and 2021 TSPE Young Engineer of the Year, Daniel Carrera, P.E.

“The College of Engineering is very proud of Dr. Nazarian and Daniel Carrera, for receiving these awards from TSPE. Dr. Nazarian has a myriad of academic and research achievements, which have contributed to his selection as Engineer of the Year,” said Patricia Nava, Ph.D., College of Engineering interim dean. “This is quite a distinction, and very well deserved. Daniel is being recognized as Young Engineer of the Year, and has a great start on what is predictably a very successful career. These accolades are certainly befitting the two honorees, and I am delighted that they have been recognized in this way.”

“All of us at UTEP’s Department of Civil Engineering are very proud that a member of the faculty and a graduate student are recognized with these awards. I am thankful to TSPE for this year’s outstanding selection of awardees,” said Carlos Ferregut, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Civil Engineering.

2021 TSPE Engineer of the Year

Nazarian, the 2021 TSPE Engineer of the Year, is a respected civil engineering professor with over 30 years of academic and professional experience. He is the founder and director of the Center for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems (CTIS), which has become a research center with worldwide recognition. He serves as the campus director of the recently constituted Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification (ASPIRE) engineering research center.

"The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) El Paso Branch is delighted on the selection of this year's recipient of the TSPE Engineer of the Year Award and our ASCE Fellow and Lifetime Member, Dr. Soheil Nazarian. This prestigious award to honor his contributions and achievements is emblematic of his commitment to the civil engineering profession and education,” said Jorge Grajeda, ASCE El Paso Branch president. “Dr. Soheil Nazarian is not only recognized for his leadership, research, and innovative technical expertise but as a devoted UTEP professor who has had a significant and positive influence on many of his engineering students and alumni. Congratulations on this deserving award!"

"Dr. Nazarian is an example of utmost dedication to his profession. It is rewarding to know that his hard work on his research and leadership towards his students is being recognized," Irazema Rojas, P.E., and El Paso Water, environmental compliance manager said.

The UTEP researcher has acted as the Principal Investigator (PI) and co-PI on over 110 research projects, working closely with his students, most of whom are graduates from underrepresented demographics, such as women and Hispanics. He has authored and co-authored over 300 articles published in scholarly journals and because of his experience was vetted and specially selected to deliver the fourth 2021 Proctor honor lecture in Sydney, Australia for the 20th International Conference on soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering.

“This honor is wonderful since it is coming from our community,” Nazarian said. “I feel I am getting credit for the hard work of a large number of our hardworking, resourceful and intelligent students, the dedicated staff of the Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems, and several of my long-time friends and colleagues in the Department of Civil Engineering.”

2021 TSPE Young Engineer of the Year

Carrera is currently pursuing his master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering at UTEP, expecting to graduate in May of this year. He has made meaningful contributions to the El Paso community not only in the field of civil engineering through his exceptional work on major city-wide projects, but philanthropically as well.

"Being named the TSPE Young Engineer of the Year is such an amazing honor for me. I'm humbled and honored to be recognized for my efforts throughout the community. I am a huge believer in mentorship, passing on knowledge to others, and helping people,” Carrera said. “Winning this award will not slow those efforts down. This will definitely help me in my career as I grow within my field, organizations, and the community. I am excited to win this award during my last semester as a graduate student at UTEP. It will feel great to finally be able to call myself a UTEP alumnus after May 2021."

As student practitioner with the ASCE UTEP Student Chapter, Carrera has an empowering message for engineering students from all walks of life on their scholastic journey.

"Your background shouldn't matter, where you come from, what your parents do for a living, or if no one in your family has graduated from college. What matters is that you're willing to put in the work. The determination and belief in yourself will take you a long way. Keep your eye on the prize. There will be difficult days, but those days will only shape you up in preparation for the future. It always works out in the end,” Carrera said.

Nazarian and Carrera were honored Friday, February 26 at the TSPE Engineers Week banquet hosted virtually via Zoom by the TSPE El Paso Chapter. The banquet serves as an ongoing celebratory tradition held in conjunction with National Engineers Week, also referred to as E-Week, a week-long dedication to the passionate promotion and recognition of all things engineering, founded by NSPE in 1951.

“While things were a bit different because of the pandemic, the event was a great success. The engineering community got together virtually to celebrate, from local to private agencies to UTEP students and faculty, the event had a very diverse audience,” said Jorge Martinez, P.E., TSPE local president. “It was a great night to celebrate our award winners and the engineering community in El Paso.”

College of Engineering Communications

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