Engineer Takes Inspiration from Childhood, Gives Back to Bangladeshi Students

Ariful Hasnat, Aff.M.ASCE, used to travel with his family from their Noakhali home in Bangladesh to the capitol city of Dhaka.

Hasnat was only 7, but even then he wondered why it would take as many as seven hours to cross three kilometers by ferry.

“My father answered, ‘If you can build bridges over these rivers, then you can pass it in 10 minutes,’” Hasnat wrote. “I asked him who built the bridges. He answered, ‘Civil engineers.’”

Hasnat was impressed enough that years later, he chose to study structural engineering in Dhaka. Today he is a senior lecturer in civil engineering at the University of Asia Pacific, and one of 10 New Faces of Civil Engineering Professionals for 2016, chosen by ASCE.

Two years ago, Hasnat’s work took him back to the rivers of his youth – not to cross by ferry but as a civil engineering professional performing health monitoring on recently constructed bridges.

It is in academia, though, that his career has flourished.

“Working at a university gives you the best ingredients to explore the unknowns,” Hasnat wrote. “I try to share the things I know and always appreciate questions and comments from the students. I learn so many things from them about their understanding, how to improve myself in teaching, as well as in connecting with them. This makes my workplace my passion.”

In addition to his teaching role at the university, Hasnat volunteers as a faculty adviser for a short-term education program that assists children in Bangladesh who are not attending regular schools. It helps provide technology that the children would not likely otherwise have access to, along with organized activities, competitions, and trips that help build community and confidence.

“It is indeed an amazing experience I am having,” Hasnat wrote.

ASCE’s New Faces of Civil Engineering recognition programs highlight the next generation of civil engineering leaders. By showcasing young, diverse, talented engineers the program shows that engineering is an exciting profession open to everyone. Ten honorees are selected by ASCE in each of two divisions: collegiate and professional.

The honorees will be recognized during Engineers Week, which starts Feb. 21, and at ASCE’s annual Outstanding Projects And Leaders (OPAL) Gala, March 17, in Arlington, VA.

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