By Peter Murphy
Published March 18, 2020
Wakil Pranto, a senior in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, has been selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as one of “10 New Faces of Civil Engineering” in the college category.
The program recognizes the next generation of civil engineering leaders by showcasing young, diverse and talented engineers.
Over the course of his academic career, Pranto has interned with such organizations as HDR, Metro North Railroad and Kiewit. He began his first internship with HDR as a freshman, and while internships that early in an academic career are rare, Pranto says it was an effective way for him to learn.
“I’m sure a lot of other people can agree: I learn the most if I can do hands-on work, and have that responsibility,” he says. “It’s not just observing and listening and watching.”
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Pranto has made an impact on UB ASCE, UB’s ASCE student club, as well as the department and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
He joined UB ASCE as a freshman and worked on its concrete canoe team. Currently, the club’s vice president, he oversees the various teams and operation of the club.
He previously served as community service chair for UB ASCE, continuing such club traditions as the monthly community service events with Habitat for Humanity and blood drives with the American Red Cross. He also organized new events with partners like the Buffalo Niagara Water Keeper.
“We went down in September to the Buffalo Niagara watershed, and for two hours with other volunteers from different organizations we picked up all the trash, we recycled and just cleaned up the ecosystem around there,” he says.
The department recognized him for his accomplishments with the 2019 Community Service Award.
Pranto also is a member of Theta Tau, a professional co-ed engineering fraternity, and sits on its community service and professional development committees. He joined the club during the first semester of his sophomore year, and has had various responsibilities in each of the positions.
“For a year, I was in charge of professional development. I would assist new members and old members with resumé review, cover letters and interview skills, and I would help them get ready for the career fair and things like that,” he says. “It’s something I take pride in and something I enjoy.”
Pranto also worked with other students in UB ASCE to assist fellow civil engineering student Hannah Bocker, who was critically injured in an accident in her hometown. The students organized a card-writing event to encourage people to support the Bocker family by donating to an online fundraiser organized by a family friend.
Pranto spread the word about the event during the capstone design class, a required course for civil engineering seniors. He also found a creative way to provide easy access to the online fundraiser.
“We put temporary stickers on the card so that when people would sign it, they could scan the QR code on the sticker, and it would take them directly to the fundraiser on Facebook,” Pranto says. “We had a lot of students and faculty come and sign the card.”
A native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Pranto currently resides in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. After completing his BS, he plans to earn his MS in civil engineering with a concentration in structural engineering. After graduate school, he hopes to travel for at least a month before working in a structural or bridge engineering position in New York City.