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Civil Engineering Senior Bowen Plogmann Awarded Thornton Tomasetti Scholarship

Allison Preston • DATE: June 3, 2018

Civil Engineering Senior Bowen Plogmann was awarded the Thornton Tomasetti Scholarship for students pursuing a master’s degree in structural engineering or architectural engineering. The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation was established in 2008 with a mission to fund fellowships, scholarships, and internships for undergraduate students and those planning to pursue graduate studies.

Throughout his undergraduate career, Plogmann focused on structural engineering. As he begins his graduate studies, he hopes to continue his civil engineering education and incorporate components of architecture as well. He says observing engineers and architects during a summer internship at a construction firm in Cincinnati sparked his interest in striking a balance between design and practicality.

“It was interesting to see the dialogue that happens between parties,” Plogmann says. “They are different professions that require different ways of thinking but are required to work together.”

As part of the application process for the Thornton Tomasetti Scholarship, Plogmann was required to write a brief essay describing his interest in the integration of engineering and architecture. He says visiting iconic structures like the skinny high-rise at 432 Park Avenue in New York City has inspired his interest in analyzing the structural and aesthetic elements of unique buildings.

“The architect had a vision of a really tall, skinny building but the issue is, how do you get the building to not move in the wind?” he says. In this case, the architect and lead engineers came up with a solution of open layout floors that allow air to pass right through.

“That is what I look forward to doing,” says Plogmann. “Solving interesting problems and balancing the needs of the client and architect.”

The Taipei 101 building in Taiwan, constructed to look like stacked Chinese takeout boxes, is another favorite high-rise of Plogmann’s.

“There is creative genius behind the extraordinary buildings but behind the scenes is the question, how do we get this to stand?”

After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in May, Plogmann will start his graduate courses at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Afterward, he hopes to work for a structural engineering firm in Manhattan that will allow him to develop his engineering expertise and work side-by-side with architects.

“Extraordinary structures are what fascinate me and if I can be part of that, it would be a dream come true.”