William J Thompson Memorial Award

ASCE 2023 Thompson Award Winners

The Thompson Award is the superlative for each of the Virginia Section Schools.  This is for the most outstanding ASCE student graduate from each of the four Virginia Section schools as selected by the school, including Virginia Tech, Virginia Military Institute, Old Dominion University, Liberty University and University of Virginia. Below are each of the 2023 Thompson Award winners:

Virginia Tech – Chris Padgett and Justice Forster

Chris Padgett is one of the two 2023 Virginia Tech (VT) Thompson Award winners.  Chris Padgett is currently a senior who will graduate in 2023.  His area of focus is structural engineering, and he intends to continue his education as a master’s student in civil engineering at Virginia Tech.  Chris is a natural leader willing to serve whenever needed, like in the 2022 Concrete Canoe competition when he became a last-minute replacement paddler so that the team could compete. 

Justice Forster is currently a senior who will graduate in 2023.  His area of focus is structural and materials engineering, and he intends to continue his education as a master’s student in civil engineering.   Justice is decorated with a number of awards including the VT ASCE Biscotte Family Scholarship, the ASCE Richmond Branch Scholarship, AISC Foundation Scholarship, the  Samuel Fletcher Tapman ASCE scholarship, and Justice is the 2023 VT Civil Engineering Senior of the Year.

Virginia Military Institute – Cadet Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson is the president of the Virginia Military Institute ASCE student chapter and concrete canoe captain.  He has been instrumental in leading the student chapter over the previous two years. Last year he helped extensively at the ASCE Student Symposium held at VMI.  He was part of the VMI concrete canoe team and was part of the group that setup and ran the concrete canoe competition.  This year he has lead a yearlong series of activities for the ASCE student chapter.  His enthusiasm and passion have contributed to the growth of the chapter.  The goals that the chapter has set have been met and exceeded for the year and that can be attributed to his leadership. He has also helped implement new ideas for cadet mentoring within the department and completed numerous outreach activities. 

Andrew has been a key part of the civil engineering department at VMI and a champion of ASCE.  In his own words,“I have been deeply impassioned by civil engineering since starting my studies in 2019, and ASCE has allowed me to take the leadership and managerial skills I have learned and apply them to the civil engineering field while still maintaining my studies. Serving as VMI’s ASCE chapter president has been an amazing experience as it has allowed me to interact with so many amazing future and present engineers. This interaction has fostered many amazing relationships all thanks to ASCE. I cherish every moment that I am able to serve ASCE at VMI.

Old Dominion University – Joey Wooten

Joey Wooten graduated with his BS Civil Engineering in May 2023 after four years of active participation with ASCE – including the COVID years.  He was Old Dominion University ASCE Student Chapter President in 2023 and prior to that served as treasurer and an active member prior to assuming an officer positions.  In 2022 and 2023 he was a member of the ODU steel bridge team.  As ASCE president he was very active in recruiting and participating in college and university events in recruiting students to civil engineering and ASCE.  He was also a member of the ODU Environmental Engineering Student Association (EESA) and a member of the ODU Virginia Water Environment Student Design Competition team, Environmental Category, that was awarded first place in the 2023 competition.  In addition to school, over the past two years he was a Hampton Roads Sanitation District intern with the biological nutrient removal research group and will continue as an HRSD graduate research intern while pursuing his master’s degree in environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. 

University of Virginia – Gabriella Ford

Gabriella (Gabby) Ford is a senior undergraduate in Civil Engineering at the University of Virginia.  Her primary focus is in Structural Engineering.  She will also earned two minors; one in Materials Science and Engineering, and the other in Technology, Society, and the Environment.  Gabby has been very active in the UVa ASCE Student Chapter, serving in several leadership roles.  She is also very active within the greater University community.  Gabby leads a team of students in a Senior Capstone Design Project focusing on the design and construction of a pedestrian bridge located in a remote community in Bolivia. She has been recognized for her outstanding academic record by earning Intermediate Honors in her junior year and earning the Dean’s List every semester she has been here.  She will be graduate “with highest distinction” for an overall GPA of 3.8 or better, as recognized by the School of Engineering.   On a personal level Gabby is kind, humble and always available to her classmates to help in any way asked.  She is a natural leader, engaging, and inclusive.  She has made a difference to all those she has touched here at the University of Virginia and will no doubt continue to do so in her career.

Liberty University – Lydianna Notheis

Lydianna Notheis is a Senior in Civil Engineering at Liberty University (LU), serving as President for the ASCE Liberty University Student Chapter. With the chapter being officially chartered in July of 2022 (due to her initial interest in Fall 2019 and becoming president of the preliminary student club in Spring 2020), the concrete canoe and steel bridge competition teams were formed and plan on participating in the 2023 Virginias ASCE Student Symposium at Marshall University in April. Since 2021, Lydianna has been working for a general contractor, Whiting-Turner, developing the now complete UVA Musculoskeletal Center and the new LU Reber Thomas dining hall on campus, to be complete before the Fall 2023 semester. Lydianna also works as an undergraduate research assistant studying transportation engineering. One of her most recent accomplishments is presenting some of her research on traffic performance for single-lane and two-lane roundabouts under various priority rules at the 2023 TRB annual conference in Washington, D.C.

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