Fairmont State Professor Receives Prestigious Civil Engineering Award

April 25—FAIRMONT — The American Society of Civil Engineers recently honored an assistant professor of civil engineering technology from Fairmont State University with one of its Outstanding Civil Engineer Advocate of the Year awards.

Tabitha Lafferre was recognized for her service as committee co-chair for the 2020 West Virginia Infrastructure Report Card, which was part of a special topics course she taught in the spring of 2020 at Fairmont State.

Under Lafferre’s direction, the students worked with various agencies to conduct the research needed to assess West Virginia’s infrastructure involving roads, bridges, dams, drinking water, and wastewater. Each category was assessed based on capacity, condition, funding, future needs, operations and maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation.

Lafferre received the award at the ASCE’s Annual Legislative Fly-in on Capitol Hill in Washington was recently recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers for her work as Committee Co-Chair for the 2020 West Virginia Infrastructure Report Card . Outstanding Lawyer Civil Engineer of the Year awards were also presented to ASCE Puerto Rico Chapter for their outstanding advocacy efforts. In addition to Lafferre, WV’s newsletter committee co-chairs also include Dave Meadows and Rodney Holbert.

“It’s just awesome to be recognized by such incredible and established professional engineers like Dave Meadows and Rodney Holbert,” said Lafferre. “It’s truly an honor to be included in an award with them.”

Since the release of the state’s inaugural report card in 2020, the committee co-chairs have continued their advocacy work to improve infrastructure within the state.

“The award was based on all the outreach and advocacy that the West Virginia Infrastructure Report Committee has done regarding the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was recently passed by the House and the Senate,” Lafferre said.

Lafferre said the committee spent much of last summer engaging with U.S. senators and representatives from West Virginia to ensure the state would receive funding to improve its infrastructure through the IIJA bill.

“We’ve heard nothing but good things about Fairmont State students’ contributions to the report and their hard work,” Lafferre said.

State infrastructure report cards have been published since the 1980s. Although few states have involved engineering students in the process, West Virginia is the first to write the report as a collective effort of students enrolled in a university course.

“I am so proud of Tabitha, and this recognition of her by the American Society of Civil Engineers speaks volumes about the kind of education we provide and the amazing teacher-mentors who teach here,” said Mirta M. Martin, president of the university. “This honor is the result of Tabitha’s Special Subjects Course – a course designed with an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning. The work of these students not only provides important ‘control’ over our state’s infrastructure, but it also gives our students invaluable real-world experience that will help them after they graduate.”

Fairmont State students are currently writing chapters for the next report card, slated for publication in 2025.