ACEC California Kicks Off 2017 Engineers Week Honoring Scholarship Foundation Recipients

As the engineering professionals kick off 2017 Engineers Week, the American Council of Engineering Companies, California announced the recipients of the 2017-2018 Scholarship Foundation awards. ACEC California’s Scholarship Foundation annually awards scholarships to deserving graduate or undergraduate college students working toward a degree in engineering or land surveying, with the top award recipients nominated to apply for the ACEC National scholarship competition.

This year, nine students received scholarship funds – three graduate students and six undergraduate students. In all, the Scholarship Foundation awarded a total of $25,000 in scholarship funds.

“Supporting future engineering and land surveying professionals along their career path is a critical part of strengthening our industry,” said Brad Diede, Executive Director at ACEC California. “I am especially proud that year after year ACEC California members recognize the need to give back and help those who are as passionate about the profession as they are.”

Engineers Week also launched this week, statewide and nationally, as engineers start to participate in events to highlight the critical role the engineering profession plays in the lives of everyday Americans. From large scale public works projects, such as airport seismic safety, to smaller yet vital projects such as water treatment systems in small communities, engineers are honored this week for their efforts to serve the public.

To recognize 2017 Engineers Week in California, ACEC California members will join Senator Anthony Cannella (R – Ceres) on Thursday, February 23, 2017, on the floor of the California State Senate as he presents Senate Resolution 18 to recognize 2017 Engineers Week.

The 2017 ACEC California Scholarship Foundation award recipients are listed below:

Graduate Students


Mani Firouzian, University of California, Irvine – Mani is pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering. Since his undergraduate studies, Mani has been working as an intern, engineer, consultant, and senior consultant for different private and state engineering firms. Mani is also a California Air Resources Board (CARB) accredited Lead Verifier under both CARB’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting and Offset Projects programs.



Arwa Tizani, University of California, Irvine – Arwa is pursuing a Masters degree in Civil Engineering. Arwa has also participated in engineering competitions through American Society of Civil Engineers and Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. In addition, Arwa is holding the position of Academic Chair for a student social sorority Delta Delta Delta.


Kellie Cochran, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo – Kellie is pursuing a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering and will focus on advanced wastewater treatment. Following her master’s program, Kellie is interested in pursuing a career in water reuse and resource management.



Undergraduate Students

margaritakovalchukMargarita Kovalchuk, California State University, Sacramento – Margarita is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. After interning at Kennedy/Jenks Consulting, Margarita is currently conducting research on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with water resources professor Dr. Cristina Poindexter. She is also President of an award-winning Society of Women Engineers chapter at Sacramento State University.


img_0567Crystal Faqih, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona – Crystal is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Crystal also serves as Vice President for Engineers Without Boarders, a student organization, as well being a member of the Society of Women Engineers to encourage young teens to consider engineering as a career choice.


img_9426-2Cheryl Fichter, University of California, Davis – Cheryl is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and serves as External Vice President of the Society of Women Engineers at UC Davis. Cheryl also has participated in undergraduate research in the Physical Chemistry department.


Brandon Elder, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona – Brandon is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and serves as the secretary of the California Land Surveyors Association. In addition, Brandon is the Crew Chief for the Pacific Southwest Conference CPP surveying competition and is currently an intern for RKA Consulting Group.


Beau Forest, University of the Pacific – Beau is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and Computer Engineering. Beau is from Redding, California, where he graduated from University Preparatory High School as a co-valedictorian. He loves to design and create. Additionally, Beau looks forward to furthering his engineering and computer science skills so he can continue to do so at a higher level.

Sam Kinsey, University of Southern California – Sam is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Sam serves on the Executive Board of USC’s chapter of the Construction Management Association of America as the Co-Chair of the annual Symposium fundraiser. Sam is also concurrently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Piano Performance.


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