Fairmont State University faculty honored by American Society of Civil Engineers

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Fairmont State University Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology, Tabitha Lafferre, was recently recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers for her work as a committee co-chair for the 2020 West Virginia Infrastructure Report Card.

At the ASCE’s Annual Legislative Fly-in on Capitol Hill, the organization presented the Outstanding Civil Engineer Advocate of the Year Awards to two teams, the Puerto Rico section and the WV Report Card committee co-chairs, for their noteworthy advocacy efforts. In addition to Lafferre, the WV Report Card committee co-chairs also include Dave Meadows and Rodney Holbert.

“It’s just great to be recognized with such amazing and established professional engineers like Dave Meadows and Rodney Holbert,” Lafferre said. “It’s really 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 of the outreach and advocacy the West Virginia Infrastructure Report Card committee did with respect to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that recently passed the House and the Senate,” Lafferre said.

Lafferre noted the committee spent a large portion of last summer engaging with West Virginia U.S. Senators and Representatives to ensure the state would receive funding to improve its infrastructure through the IIJA Bill. 

In addition to committee outreach, their efforts were also noted for engaging a group of students in researching, writing and preparing the report card. The inaugural WV Infrastructure Report Card was part of a special topics course taught in the spring of 2020 by Lafferre at Fairmont State.

The students in her class worked with professionals and state agencies to conduct research necessary to rating West Virginia’s infrastructure across five categories: roads, bridges, dams, drinking water and waste water. These categories were evaluated based on eight criteria: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation.

“We’ve heard nothing but great things about the Fairmont State students’ contributions to the report and how hard they’ve worked,” Lafferre said.

State infrastructure report cards have been released since the 1980s. Although few states have involved engineering students in the process, and West Virginia is the first to draft the report as the collective efforts of students enrolled in a college course.

“I’m 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 extraordinary teacher-mentors who teach here,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “This honor is a result of Tabitha’s special topics course – a course designed with a hands-on, experiential learning focus. These students’ work not only provides an important ‘check-up’ on our state’s infrastructure, but it also gives our students invaluable real-world experience that will help them upon graduation.”

Fairmont State students are currently drafting chapters of the next report card, slated to be released in 2025.

For more information, visit www.asce.org or www.infrastructurereportcard.org.