AUTC 2006 Student of the Year: Wilhelm Muench

January 5, 2007 • Filed under: Student of the Year — billy.connor

Wilhelm Muench won the 2006 AUTC Outstanding Student Award, which allowed him to attend the Transportation Research Board 86th Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C. on 21-25 January, 2007.

portrait of Wilhelm Muench

Wilhelm Muench

“Twelve thousand engineers all in a small area makes for an interesting bunch,” says Muench, who spent four days attending presentations on structures and bridges. His favorite was “Load and Resistance Design of Concrete Bridge Superstructures.” Muench says this type of structural design appeals to him because it allows an engineer to sketch out so many possible creative solutions. Although many designs are based on simple assumptions about stress and shear, “in reality, what’s happening in a beam is very complicated.” Many structural details common to bridge abutments, for instance, require more complex designs.

According to session presenter Shrinivas Balkrishna Bhide, Muench notes, “managers will hate this design method, because you can give the same problem to 20 engineers, and they’ll all give you different, correct answers.”

in reality, what’s happening in a beam is very complicated

Muench, who is from Ketchikan, Alaska, will complete his M.S. in Civil Engineering this summer. In the future, he says, “what I should do is get a job in Fairbanks doing structural engineering, but I may run away and go surveying.”