Carnegie Mellon University

title of event with headshots of each of the winners

December 14, 2020

CEE Annual Alumni Awards Goes Virtual to Highlight Graduates’ Successes

For the first time in CEE’s history, our annual alumni awards went virtual. Dave Dzombak, Hamerschlag University Professor and CEE department head, hosted a virtual celebration honoring some of the best and brightest alums for their contributions and work. After accepting their awards, the winners answered questions submitted by current students, focusing on everything from work/life balance to overcoming bumps in a career path.

Recent Alumni Award

hemming-sq.pngThe Recent Alumni Award, recognizing CEE alumni who have a noteworthy achievement within ten years of receiving their highest degree from the CEE Department, was given to Dorian Hemming (CEE ’11).

Hemming works at Brown and Caldwell in Washington, DC, and has served as a consultant for more than 20 different companies from municipalities to commercial and federal markets. He specializes in water infrastructure design including drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater systems.

Notably, Hemming proudly serves as an active mentor to CEE students. Last year, he participated in the Real World Engineering: D.C. program of the College of Engineering, connecting undergraduate engineers with D.C.-area alumni. Hemming hosted three CMU students and showed them a day in the life of a civil and environmental engineer—providing a real-world experience for the students. “Giving back to the students really makes me feel like I help to carry on the essence of CEE,” Hemming states.

Outstanding Alumni Service Award

domick-sq.pngThe Outstanding Alumni Service Award was presented this year to Todd Dominick (CE ’79). The award recognizes CEE alumni who have made sustained contributions to the CEE department, the university, or the engineering profession over a period of time.

Dominick worked as a project engineer, project manager, and estimator for 10 years before co-founding Pittsburgh-based Rycon Construction in 1989. Now the company’s chief executive officer, Todd played a large role in developing and shaping Rycon from a startup to a premier construction organization employing over 215 office employees in 5 offices across 4 states and successfully completing over $4 billion of work.

Dominick is a consistent supporter of CEE and has given generously of his time over the years. He’s currently the president of the board of directors for the Master Builders' Association of Western PA and a member of the Carnegie Mellon University CEE Advisory Council. He also actively recruits CEE students as summer interns with Rycon Construction.

“My career has been great and CMU is a big reason for it. I especially appreciate this award because it comes from the CEE department,” Dominic said.

Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible Distinguished Public Service Award

hixson-sq.pngStephanie Hixson (CEE ’94, ’99) earned the Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible Distinguished Public Service Award, created to honor Lt. Col. Raible (CEE ‘95) who was killed in action in Afghanistan. The award recognizes CEE alumni who have made outstanding public service contributions.

Hixson works as the Senior Director of Real Estate and Construction at Sibley Memorial Hospital in the Johns Hopkins Health System where she’s serving the public by leading hands-on operations in the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Her career started as an Engineer at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She moved up to become Deputy Director for the Division of Design and Construction Management. Thanks to her leadership skills, Hixon was recruited for a leadership position at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Hixson was especially honored to win this award because she attended CEE alongside Lt. Col Raible. “This award is such a nice way to remember his contributions,” she added.

Distinguished Alumni Award

peters-sq.pngCatherine Peters (CEE ’90, CEE ‘92) earned the final award of the evening’s virtual presentations, the Distinguished Alumni Award. It recognizes CEE alumni who have one or more major achievements that have improved the work of professional engineers or have improved people’s lives.

Peters, a Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, is internationally known as an educator, researcher, and professional leader. At Princeton since 1994, Peters is at the forefront of environmental engineering and sustainable energy technologies, with a particular focus on greenhouse gas mitigation through geological carbon sequestration.

Her research is founded on environmental chemistry, geochemistry, mineralogy, and engineering—and her contributions have been recognized with awards from the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Peters has also received invitations to serve on high-level advisory panels for the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the National Research Council.

“CEE is where I spent my most important years that shaped me to be the person, researcher, and educator that I am today,” Peters stated. “I believe so strongly that CEE is an excellent institution that I’ve sent many Princeton students to study there. It’s a sign of just how proud of I am of CMU!”

Congratulations to this year’s award winners.