Civil engineering student's report on The Impact of ASCE's New Code of Ethics wins Pacific Northwest competition | Oregon Tech – Oregon Institute of Technology

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Serena Moha, a civil engineering student at Oregon Tech, was awarded first place in the student paper competition at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Northwest Symposium.

The ASCE symposium is an annual event that brings together Pacific Northwest college and university students to test their knowledge and skills in categories such as concrete canoe presentations, steel bridge teams, sustainable solutions presentations, environmental presentations, and student papers. Moha competed against students from 11 other universities in the student paper competition.

For the competition, participants were asked to compare ASCE’s new Code of Ethics, which were updated in October 2020, to the previous version and to discuss the impacts the changes will have on the civil engineering profession.

Moha’s paper, The Impact of ASCE’s New Code of Ethics, explains the importance of public trust in the civil engineering profession.

“I chose to focus on these changes because it shows how the new code puts society first and will help civil engineers maintain and build public trust,” she said.

In the paper, Moha explains that the new ASCE Code of Ethics moves from a canon model to a stakeholder model, which is structured as a hierarchy of ethical responsibilities in engineering, starting with society, then to the natural and built environment, then the profession, then clients and employers, and finally to peers.

Within her paper, she describes, “After natural disasters, people turn to civil engineers to restore infrastructure and provide necessities for a community. As a profession, civil engineers need to make sure the public trusts us with their safety, welfare, and lives. Without a set of moral codes, knowledge can only go so far in gaining public trust.”

Moha is on track to graduate in 2025 with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering. She chose to study civil engineering because of her fascination with infrastructure.
“Civil engineering is also a profession where I get to help people,” said Moha. “Many people don’t think about it, but as I mentioned in my paper, civil engineers greatly impact people’s everyday lives in many ways.”

As she concludes in her paper, “As times continue to change and challenges continue to arise, the new code reflects that a civil engineer will put the needs of society above everything else.”

Oregon Tech’s steel bridge team also competed at the event, but inadequate lateral stiffness on the cantilevered end of the bridge took them out of the running. However, their first-place finish in 2021 allows the team to continue to the national competition at Virginia Tech on May 27 and 28.

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