Architectural engineering student receives $10,000 industry scholarship

Nicholas Piteo, right, senior project manager at SGH, formally announces Geoffrey Tanudjaja, a fourth-year architectural engineering student, as the recipient of the Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) 60th Anniversary Scholarship. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Geoffrey Tanudjaja, a fourth-year architectural engineering student, is the recipient of the Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) 60th Anniversary Scholarship. In celebration of the national engineering firm’s 60th anniversary, the $10,000 scholarship was established to honor undergraduate civil, structural, and architectural engineering students who strive for excellence in all aspects of their lives, including their engineering studies at the following six universities: Lehigh University; Northeastern University; Penn State; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, San Diego; and the University of Texas at Austin.

Gary Strand, principal at SGH, said these schools were selected because of the firm’s close relationship with each through on-campus activities, recruiting and hiring, and relationships with faculty. The firm connected the announcement and awarding of the scholarship to on-campus symposia at each school for an additional opportunity to interact with and provide information to students.

“Penn State is one of our key relationships; SGH has a track record of hiring talented Penn State graduates who continue to contribute to our success,” he said. 

Since its founding, SGH has prided itself of a corporate culture built on passion, continuous learning, excellence, and the idea that regardless of position or role, every SGH employee is a learner and a teacher. This practice encourages a constant journey of personal and professional development, providing employees with opportunities to improve themselves; SGH; the architectural, engineering and construction industry; and society. 

“SGH marked our 60th anniversary with a yearlong celebration that included strengthening our relationships with each other, thanking our clients, supporting our communities, and marking our long history of supporting universities and students who are critical to the future of our profession,” Nicholas Piteo, senior project manager at SGH, said. “We established this scholarship to encourage undergraduate college students who strive for excellence in all aspects of their lives, including their engineering studies.”

The award includes a $10,000 tuition reimbursement and a paid internship at an SGH office during a semester or summer of the recipient’s choice. Firm office locations include Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston, the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. To be eligible, students needed to be a third-year undergraduate student at the time of application studying civil engineering, structural engineering, or architectural engineering that intended to continue his or her engineering studies for the 2016-17 academic year and was in good academic standing. To apply, students were asked to submit a cover letter that introduced themselves and summarized their qualifications and experience; a resume demonstrating their academic record, work experience, and extracurricular participation and leadership; a one-page essay discussing how their academic pursuits and professional ambitions align with the culture and values of SGH; four letters of reference; and an official university or college transcript.

Piteo said the goal was to grant this award to individuals who embody SGH’s culture and values, and Tanudjaja was an exemplary candidate.

“Geoffrey’s academic achievements, essay and references were outstanding. His application illustrated his alignment with SGH culture through his passionate commitment to continuous learning, to deliver high-quality services through the integration of architecture and engineering, and to making the world a better place through sustainability,” he said.

Tanudjaja said he is honored to be a recipient of the award and to have the opportunity to work with a firm that he views as one of the best structural engineering firms in the nation.

“I will always be grateful to SGH for honoring me with this scholarship, as it not only helps me financially but also professionally. The financial support helps me tremendously in my studies and the internship program gives me the opportunity to grow even more as an architectural engineer graduating from Penn State,” he said.

At the award announcement symposium held at Penn State, Piteo and Strand presented an introduction to building enclosures and structural engineering at SGH. The content included a brief introduction to SGH as an engineering firm and a presentation complete with illustrations, photographs, and description of common challenges faced during the design, construction, and day-to-day performance of buildings.

Piteo and Strand said they wanted to illustrate the importance of being a “problem solver” during one’s career to students.

“We have crafted a successful company and culture based on solving our clients’ problems and we’re convinced that this is one of the best ways to have a successful engineering career,” Strand said.

Tanudjaja agrees and said that learning to be an active problem solver is something that has continuously been stressed greatly since he came to Penn State three years ago.

“I didn’t come this far alone. I thank all my professors who have taught me what it means to be an architectural engineer and problem solver, especially Professor Moses Ling, Professor John Messner, Nathan Patrick with Penn State Office of Physical Plant, and Angelique Bacon-Woodard from Penn State Learning,” he said. “Without their persistent teaching, support and advice, I would not be who I am today.”

Both Piteo and Strand feel it is the duty of industry firms to aid in this support by partnering with universities like Penn State and faculty members like Ling and Messner to continue to enhance engineering education.

“We believe it is important to help make sure that students continue to be inspired to join our profession and that academic curricula prepares students to be successful professionals,” Piteo said “It is important for us to be involved with Penn State AE because it is a leader in the education of AE professionals and continues to challenge and lead the industry to improve.”

Last Updated February 17, 2017