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Building a Solid Foundation

UHD Students Earn National Recognition at American Concrete Institute Conference


By Mark Kramer

They are the engineering technologists, structural analysts and construction project design managers of the future – and they are working to ensure their pathways to success are literally set in stone.

Meet the nationally recognized students of the University of Downtown-Houston (UHD) Chapter of the American Concrete Institute.

For the first time, the UHD chapter of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) has earned the honor of being one of the top 10 collegiate groups in the student competition at the ACI’s National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Many UHD students and alumni are also involved in the ACI Houston Chapter.

During the competition, UHD students tackled the task of creating concrete beams used as bridge supports constructed by fiber polymer reinforced rebar. The competition allowed the UHD students to apply what they have learned into a hands-on project where they had to calculate concrete mixture for the project designs and how it would figure into the strength and durability of the completed bridge supports.

“These conferences and competition give our students an opportunity to learn from experts in the field and take their knowledge and apply those concepts,” said Dr. Arash Rahmatian, UHD assistant professor and program coordinator of Engineering Technology. “By learning hands-on, it gives them the opportunity to see how quality work is performed in the design and construction of safe structures.”

UHD senior Angela Ybarra, a Structural Analysis and Design major, said the competition was challenging and rewarding. In addition, she found the workshops be helpful and informative.

“The event adds value to your resume, through the interactive experiences in the student competitions, various insights in the workshop sessions and the professional networking events,” she said. “I see it as vital in preparing for graduation and my career.”

Rahmatian’s students, many of whom are UHD chapter ACI members, have the opportunity to attain ACI certification through some of his courses offered. The path of Rahmatian’s students earning their certifications was even highlighted in the November 2019 issue of Concrete International magazine.

After graduation, Rahmatian’s students have landed careers as project engineers and managers, bridge designers, cost estimators and structural integrity engineers.

“I am always proud to see our students graduate and take what they’ve learned and become successful as part of the growing workforce in the industry,” he said.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.