ASCE William J. Thomas Award Winners

The Thompson Award is selected from the most outstanding ASCE student graduates from each of the six Virginia Section schools.

Each award winner is chosen by their school which includes Virginia Tech (VT), Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Old Dominion University (ODU), Liberty University (LU),  University of Virginia (UVA), and the most recent chapter, James Madison University (JMU).

Congratulations to the 2024 Thompson Award Winners:

Leon Crawford
University of Virginia

Leon Crawford is a senior undergraduate in Civil Engineering at the University of Virginia.  His primary focus is in Structural Engineering.

Leon has been very active in the UVA ASCE Student Chapter, serving in several leadership roles to include President for the 23-24 academic year. He is also very active within the greater University community.  Leon leads a team of students in a Senior Capstone Design Project focusing on the design and construction of a concrete canoe.  He revived the concrete canoe project and, starting from scratch, lead the team to a second place finish at the Spring 2023 Virginia Section Meeting.  Leon has been recognized for his outstanding academic record by earning Intermediate Honors in his junior year and earning the Dean’s List every semester he has attended UVA.  Leon will graduate “with highest distinction” for an overall GPA of 3.8 or better, as recognized by the School of Engineering.  

On a personal level Leon is kind, humble and always available to his classmates to help in any way asked.  Above and beyond his academic and scholarly accomplishments, Leon is a natural leader, always engaging and inclusive.  He has made a difference to all those he has touched at UVA and will no doubt continue to do so in his career.

Ricky Wohlrab
Virginia Tech

Ricky Wohlrab is currently a senior graduating May 2024 with a current 3.98 GPA.  

Originally, from Freehold, NJ, Ricky came to Virginia Tech because he recognized the excellent engineering program and the overall pleasant atmosphere and sense of community on campus.  

Ricky’s area of focus is structural engineering, and he has been extremely active with the Virginia Tech Steel Bridge team.  Counting this year, he will have participated in three national Steel Bridge competitions, and he is currently one of the lead co-captions of this team.  

Ricky is staying at Virginia Tech to continue his Master’s degree in Structural Engineering and Materials.  One of his professors is quoted as saying, “Ricky is the full package:  he’s brilliant, a heck of a hard worker, yet affable, and a leader.”  

In his free time, Ricky enjoys running, baking, and playing intramural sports.    

Conor Gallini
Old Dominion University

Connor Gallini is an aspiring civil engineer in his third year studying at Old Dominion University.

He has served the ODU ASCE Student Chapter since his freshman year, fulfilling the roles of secretary, vice-president, and president, respectively.

Connor excel’s at engaging civil engineering students and creating excitement regarding the field and the Student Chapter.

In 2023, ODU presented a concrete canoe (the first in five years) and a steel bridge  welded entirely by Connnor.

The ODU ASCE Student Chapter brought 19 students to the 2024 ASCE Student Symposium. This event was a great way for student members to get further involved!

Stemming from his involvement with ASCE, Connor is returning for his second summer internship with the Virginia Department of Transportation! He’s already leaving his mark on ODU with more to come because of the opportunities provided by ASCE.

Grace Wagner
Virginia Military Institute

 Grace Wagner is the current Vice President of the ASCE Student Chapter of VMI. 

She served as the co-team captain of the steel bridge team in 2022-2023 and has been a highly active and productive member of the student chapter.  She created the VMI ASCE end-of-the-year report for 2024.  In addition, she has planned social events, produced newsletters, actively helped recruit new members, managed the VMI social media page, recruited guest speakers including both professional and students, planned and attended multiple field trips, volunteered with middle school outreach efforts, attended numerous section/ branch events, and helped create the new ASCE VMI chapter logo. 

While at VMI she has been a member of VMI’s Women’s Soccer Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Society of Woman Engineers (SWE), and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).  She has also served as the Cadet in charge of the museum post tours, interned at the VMI Alumni Association,  and been a part of VMI’s public relations and logistics staff. 

Upon graduation in May 2024, Grace will attend Emory and Henry University to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration and play soccer on the NCAA soccer team with her sister Sophia. 

After Graduate School she hopes to work for an agricultural company that has a focus on sustainable systems and work towards one day opening a Hydroponic farm.

Robert Tee Davis
Liberty University

Robert Tee Davis is a senior studying civil engineering at Liberty University.

He was born in Winston-Salem, NC, and attended Calvary Day School for all his primary education.

He currently serves as a student research assistant in pavement research and as the treasurer for Liberty University’s ASCE Student Chapter.

In addition to the support role he plays as treasurer, he also has served on the Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge teams assisting with concrete testing and building, respectively.

He desires to practice in the fields of geotechnical engineering, construction materials, and/or QA/QC after he graduates.

Ryan Dehler
James Madison University

Ryan Dehler – INAUGURAL WINNER for our newest Chapter! Ryan is a third-year engineering major and mathematics minor at James Madison University.

He grew up in Purcellville, VA, and has always had a fascination with how things work, how a structure was built, how certain machines functioned, etc.

Ryan enrolled at JMU Engineering because of the project-based learning environment and the opportunities he would have to learn more about civil engineering.

In his second year, he joined the growing ASCE Student Chapter at JMU Engineering. He brought three other students with him because he was very interested in civil and environmental engineering fields. He wanted the club to grow and succeed so more students would have they opportunity to learn about possible career pathways.

As a new student organization, he immediately stepped into the role of Vice President in AY2022-2023, and became President in AY2023-24. Serving as President has allowed him to develop his professional skills in planning, public speaking, and organizational management.

Ryan continues to cultivate a highly engaged and growing club by recruiting five new members.