Professional Paper

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The 2017 Southeast Student Conference topic for the professional paper presentation is the same as the Daniel W. Mead Prize for Students:

"Is it ethical for university engineering faculty to teach technical subject matter to engineering students without obtaining professional licensure?"

Some states require this (such as Idaho) while some states do not. How does that affect the success of a university program? Should all 50 states be consistent with this? Should there be additional routes to obtain professional licensure, such as through research and a doctorate degree?


The objective of this competition is to engage students in evaluation of controversial topic that requires the student to understand laws, rules, and ethical obligations to society.


Each university may have one competitor, and that student may not be a graduate student. The entrant must be a member of ASCE in good standing at the time the paper is submitted.


Papers are not to exceed 2,000 words in length, must be written by only one person, and should not have been previously published. Reference citations of the papers should conform to official ASCE Journal Submission Guidelines, which can be found on the ASCE Publications website:


A completed submission will consist of a single pdf file containing:

  1. Cover letter, from the faculty advisor stating the name, ASCE member ID number, mailing address, phone number, and email address for the paper’s author.
  2. The paper being submitted. The name of the pdf file shall follow this format:

    Mead Student Prize – Author’s Last Name – Name of University.pdf

Submissions should be sent to 2017asce@fau.edu and must be received on or before 11:59 pm (EST) March 1, 2017. Report to assigned time for the presentation (Windows Powerpoint on a USB drive allowed).

Note: Papers submitted for the Student Conference paper presentation competition may also be submitted to the National Daniel W. Mead Student Contest. The deadline for submittal is also March 1, 2017 11:59 p.m. EST to student@asce.org.


For the paper, the judges will score the entry based on:

  • Adherence to topic and command of subject matter. This is measured by focusing on the key question and demonstrating understanding of the issue.
  • Original ideas, compelling arguments, and evidence of research. This is assessed by the justification of your position with defensible statements, case studies, examples, etc., and no errors in logic or facts are presented.
  • Professionalism (spelling and grammar, less than 2000 words). This is assessed by the degree to which the discipline specific format is followed; spelling and grammar are checked; sentences are consistently communicating thoughts clearly, while remaining free of sentence level patterns of error; sentence structure is technically sound and is varied, convincing, nuanced, eloquent with appropriate tone; evidence of editing is obvious.
  • Overall clarity, organization, quality of references. This is assessed by the degree to which the facts are presented in a logical manner, paragraphs transition well, and references are cited properly and are peer-reviewed.

For the presentation, the judges will score the entry based on:

  • Knowledge of subject matter. The speaker shall demonstrate command of the technical content and understanding of the key issues.
  • Quality of supporting evidence. The speaker shall justify arguments with defensible statements, case studies, examples, etc., with no errors in logic or facts.
  • Persuasive delivery. The speaker shall demonstrate an ability to convince the audience with poise, professional appearance, eye contact, and free from distracting mannerisms in an effective conversational style with proper use of technical language, enthusiasm, and confident voice projection.
  • Overall clarity, organization, quality of visuals. The speaker shall answer questions to reflect an understanding of the topic. The facts shall be presented in a logical order. The visuals should be clear, free of clutter, related to the discussion items, and memorable in a positive way that does not detract from the speaker.

There is a strictly enforced time limit (5 minutes ± 5 seconds). For each second outside of this allowance, 0.05 points shall be deducted. This stipulation is in place to ensure that the speaker rehearses the presentation. An additional maximum 10 point penalty will be assessed for inclusion of unsupported facts or errors in logic.


Send questions to 2017asce@fau.edu. Answers will be posted on the Q&A page.