Undergraduate Earns 2021 ASCE Lawrence W. and Francis W. Cox Scholarship

CEE sophomore and ASCE scholarship winner Amy Anhthu Le plans to become a structural engineer as her way of helping the world.

April 27, 2021 – Amy Anhthu Le, a UC Irvine Samueli School of Engineering sophomore with a dual major in civil engineering and mathematics, has won the national American Society of Civil Engineers 2021 Lawrence W. and Francis W. Cox Scholarship.

The scholarship ($13,000) is presented annually to one undergraduate civil engineering student, a sophomore, junior or senior, who will use the scholarship for their tuition expenses and fees. The purpose of the scholarship is to further the education of a worthy student in any civil engineering discipline.

“I have great respect for the Cox family’s commitment to civil engineering and their desire to give back to students and younger generations,” said Le, who appreciates the financial support and feels honored by the national recognition. “They are giving me the opportunity to thrive in the civil engineering field.”

Le learned about the Cox scholarship through the ASCE Club. The club’s faculty adviser Joel Lanning, civil and environmental engineering assistant professor of teaching, also inspired her to pursue structural engineering. Le worked on the American Institute of Steel Construction's Student Steel Bridge Competition, for which Lanning was also an adviser. “I learned so much from the hands-on experience of actually designing our own bridge rather than looking at someone else’s and analyzing it,” Le said. “We were able to create the bridge in person and see it come to life.”

The intensive scholarship application process initially proved daunting to Le, but she knew she had the support of her professors. One who went beyond her expectations was Farzin Zareian, civil and environmental engineering associate professor. When she sent the scholarship information to Zareian, he responded with a letter of recommendation within a day or two. “It’s not the first time he’s done something like that,” Le said. “I just felt really grateful to Professor Zareian.”

After graduating from UCI, Le plans to attend graduate school and become a structural engineer with a particular interest in earthquake engineering. As she said in her scholarship letter: “In my eyes, this career is the best way for me to personally help the world. Successful structural engineering will ensure the safety of countless people.

“There will always be a need for structural and civil engineers because of the buildings we create,” Le added. “Sometimes there will be natural disasters, like earthquakes, that cause buildings to lose performance or be destroyed. Working in earthquake engineering would be my way of trying to help the world and make it a better and safer place.”

– Tonya Becerra