#PROFSpective: Civil and Environmental Engineering Major Muhammad Akhtar

Muhammad standing in front of a pond.

Today we feature first-generation college student Muhammad Akhtar, a senior Civil and Environmental Engineering major. Muhammad is involved in the Rowan American Society of Civil Engineers (Mentorship Chair), Rowan Muslim Student Association (Secretary), Rowan Racquetball (Active Member) and outside of school works as a Structural Engineering intern at HNTB and is a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Coastal & Northern New Jersey. He is from Budd Lake, NJ (Morris County).

What inspired you to choose your major?

I was inspired to pursue Civil Engineering due to my fundamental interest in the maths and sciences. Once I learned about America’s crumbling infrastructure and need for transportation infrastructure engineers to help bring America into a global infrastructure leader, I knew Civil Engineering was the perfect major for me.

Muhammad standing outside of the Engineering Building.

How are you involved on campus?

I am the Secretary for the Rowan Muslim Student Association, which allows me to stay connected with my faith and spirituality on campus. I am the Mentorship Chair for Rowan American Society of Civil Engineers’ Student Chapter. ASCE always me to prepare for my professional career after graduation by supplying resources and networking opportunities. I am also an active member of the Rowan Racquetball Club. This allows me to stay active on campus in a fun and competitive way.

Muhammad sitting outside of the Engineering building.

Could you share with us one moment that made you feel inspired or confident that you’re in the right field for you?

During my internship at HNTB, a leading nationwide transportation infrastructure design firm, I was able to go out into the field and see projects such as the new Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown, NY. During that site visit, I was able to walk on the concrete deck before any asphalt was laid down. Another moment that inspired me into continuing my passion of bridge engineering was my site visit to The Pulaski Skyway in Jersey City, NJ. During that site visit I was able to see first hand the steel repairs I had been working on while in the office. Seeing projects you have worked on in the office come to fruition is truly inspiring and drives me to work hard everyday.

Muhammad standing in front of a pond in a Rowan sweatshirt.

Describe for us an experience you’ve shared with a Rowan professor in which you felt like you were working with a visionary in your field.

The professor that I’ve shared the best experience with is Dr. Ralph Dusseau. Dr. Dusseau was my transfer advisor when I transferred to Rowan and is also a former bridge engineer, and current Structural Engineering Professor. As someone who wants to pursue a career in structural bridge design, I have become very close with Dr. Dusseau and consider him an outstanding resource and mentor in the field. I have been working with Dr. Dusseau for my junior and senior Engineering Clinics working on Deck Truss Analysis on the Betsy Ross Bridge between NJ and Philadelphia. I have seen first hand Dr. Dusseau’s technical knowledge and ability to convey such information to our clinic team. I value the time I have spent working with Dr. Dusseau and truly believe his is a visionary in the field of structural engineering.

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Story by:  Stephanie Batista, sophomore Music Industry major

Thank you to New Jersey Digest for recognizing Rowan Blog as one of the best university blogs in the state.

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