Dr. Z’s Corner

Dr. Z

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., Ph.D., Fellow-NSPE, Fellow-ASCE is an award-winning professor, structural engineer, author and mentor living in Washington, D.C. Since joining academia at UDC, "Dr. Z", as he is known by his students and colleagues, has distinguished himself on campus and beyond. He is passionate about engineering, gifted in teaching, and is a true champion for professional licensure. Dr. Z. has extraordinarily high standards; has produced award-winning designs; is prolific in professional service; and infects others with these same values. He is the recipient of numerous local, regional and national awards, including recent national awards from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Since 2014, he has been regularly writing monthly articles for “Dr.Z’s Corner “ and offering hundreds of engineering problems, for free, every month for students, engineers and engineering educators worldwide. Dr. Z. also offers pro-bono Saturday classes for students and engineers; his free classes are open to all in the greater Washington metro area and cost nothing, nada, zilch! Starbucks coffee is always a must have for Dr. Z.

Amazing Success Stories from Dr. Z’s Students at The University of the District of Columbia and George Mason University

We hope our readers had an enjoyable and productive summer. For us September means the beginning of another exciting academic year. We truly enjoy being “Engineering Educators” since we are continuously working with young minds, inspiring, motivating and most importantly educating them to become our future engineers.

For this month’s ASCE-NCS newsletter article, I’ve decided to share some amazing success stories of my students both at UDC and GMU. As you may already know, nothing gives us educators more joy than talking about our students’ success stories. For this article I’ve picked six amazing students among five hundred.

Victoria Church, unquestionably Dr.Z’s best student at UDC. She transferred from UVA, is the heroine of UDC’s Steel Bridge victory, and is the driver of UDC’s MARS ROVER of NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Competition. Victoria wrote “Dr.Z. thank you so, so much for supporting my Structural Engineering education and for being a HUGE ADVOCATE for me. You helped instill confidence in myself that I will take with me to my new job at Jacobs.” According to rumors, Victoria’s starting salary made some young colleagues envious! Good luck Victoria! You’ll be a great engineer; don’t forget your alma mater and keep making us proud. Also, it is not too early to start working for your PE exam. Let us know if you need any help.

Mutlu Gunduz, one of my BEST students at GMU who took my CEIE-400 class there wrote, “ I have a great news for you Dr. Z. Yes, I have CONQUERED my FE exam on my first try. I cannot tell you how happy I am. First I was a little nervous but having Dr. Z in my corner made all the difference. In the exam, on several questions, your well known “Guerrilla Methods” made all the difference and I easily solved them in no time. Even though a thousand words of gratitude would not be enough, I still want to say again, THANK YOU VERY MUCH Dr. Z. for your time, effort, and mentorship. By the way let me know when you are free. Because Starbucks coffee will be on me this time, as I promised.” We wish Mutlu good luck! We’ve already told him to start preparing for his PE exam immediately. Mutlu has our phone number; our commitment to our students is not for a semester, but for life.

Sandae Tait, one of our star students at UDC, took the FE exam while taking our FE Prep class (CVEN 418) at UDC and CONQUERED it on his first attempt. Yet, Sandae’s success story didn’t end there. He applied to COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY for his graduate studies in Civil Engineering and in May 2019 he received a full scholarship. We wish him good luck.

Samantha Babbitt, one of our best students in CEIE-400 classes at George Mason CONQUERED her FE exam on her FIRST try. Samantha sent us a note (including Mr. Simmons) and said “Your techniques and GORILLA formulas saved me lots of time in the exam. Also, your calculator shortcuts saved me a ton of time which we learned in your classes. Thank you.” I am glad our instruction and tools in CEIE-400 helped her to conquer her FE exam on her first try. We wish Samantha all the best.

Stacey Lockerman was UDC ASCE Student Chapter president and another star student from UDC. I met her first time back in 2013 as a Mechanical Engineering major in my Intro to Engineering freshman class. Immediately I knew that she was a very special student. At the end of that semester Stacey decided not only to switch to Civil Engineering but also decided to attend to our pro-bono Saturday classes for FE and PE exams at UDC. Back in 2013 she wrote “Dr. Z. Having just begun college this semester, I still have a long way to go, but for fun I already try to construct my own formulas based on different topics. When it comes to being creative, I am always trying to come up with new ideas by thinking of ways things can be done differently or looking at things from a different viewpoint.” In May 2019, Stacey graduated from UDC and received a full scholarship from COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. We wish Stacey all the best. She will be a great Civil Engineer.

Mera Shabti was a STAR student in our CEIE-400 class at George Mason. On March 29 and 30, Mason’s Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Sid and Reva Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering (CEIE) at GMU hosted the annual ASCE Virginia’s Conference and various competitions were organized. Amazingly, Mera was the 1st PLACE WINNER at Marr Technical Paper Competition, Hardy Cross Competition, and Geotechnical Challenge GMU Team. Department Chair Prof. Sam Salem and ASCE faculty advisors Profs. Liza Durant and Doaa Bondok provided guidance and support throughout the competition. We wish Mera all the best. She will definitely be a great Civil Engineer. 

Until next time,
Ahmet Zeytinci (Dr.Z.)
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