Welcome to the Young Engineers Committee (YEC) page! 

The Young Engineers Committtee's purpose is to provide a forum where young practicing engineers can come to promote the structural engineering field, as well as learn from both young and experienced members of SEAOI.  In order to accomplish its mission, the YEC endeavors:

  1. To educate the public about the structural engineering field through volunteering and philanthropy.
  2. To facilitate networking and dialogue among its membership through planning and participation in social and professional events.
  3. To provide resources and support to its membership for professional development and licensure.

Congratulations to David Nauheimer!

A big congratulations to YEC’s very own Dave Nauheimer for winning an NCSEA Young Member Summit Scholarship to attend this October’s Structural Engineering Summit in Washington DC! Dave wrote an intriguing essay on “How has mentorship or lack of mentorship affected your career?  In your opinion, what is the best way to incorporate mentoring into the structural engineering profession?”  Check out Dave’s great essay here

Study Group for the SE Lateral Exam

If you are planning to take the SE Exam in October, enhance your preparedness by joining SEI Illinois Chapter and SEAOI YEC’s SE Study Groups. SEI/YEC are hosting one study group for the 2017 Fall SE exam focusing on the lateral session. The group provides a structured but informal setting for professionals to share knowledge and collaborate to solve study problems for the upcoming exam.  Study sessions will take place on Monday evenings, August 21 - October 23. 

The study group will be limited to a maximum of 10 participants.  The cost of registration provides:

  • Knowledge sharing with other professionals with diverse work experience
  • Weekly problem sets and solutions
  • Dinner at each session
  • Study group among peers (not instructor-led)

Find out more and register here!


Join our Mailing List

Use the form below to subscribe to the YEC Wednesday mailing list.

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Recent Graduate New Member Promotion

Are you graduating or have you recently graduated with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD with a focus on Structural Engineering? Do you want to get more involved with Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (SEAOI) after you graduate? If so, SEAOI is offering a discounted rate of $75 (normally $137.50) for the first two years of Associate-level membership.

You must participate in at least 3 SEAOI events during your first year of membership in order to be eligible for the discount again in your second year.  

If you are interested in taking advantage of this great offer, please fill out this form and we’ll contact you with more information! 


Dinner Meetings Mentorship Program

We are now taking names of those interested in participating in the Mentor Program at SEAOI dinner meetings in 2016! 

At each dinner meeting, young engineers are paired up with seasoned engineers who can share their structural engineering knowledge and experience with them. This is a great opportunity to meet new people, as well as get comfortable with the dinner meetings. We know it can be intimidating to walk into a room full of people you do not know, and your assigned mentor will be there to introduce you to other attendees. We have found that after young engineers participate in this program, they are then more excited to attend future dinner meetings, which are always a great networking and educational experience. 

Five young engineers will be selected for each dinner meeting and will also receive a discounted rate, paying only $25 to attend. Please see the upcoming events in the sidebar for the schedule of dinner meetings. 

Please email admin@seaoiyec.com if you would like to participate, and we will contact you with more information. 

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Outstanding Young Engineer Award

The Oustanding Young Engineer Award is presented to a structural engineer, 35 years old or younger, in recognition of their achievements in structural engineering. The candidate must exhibit both technical and interpersonal qualities that all young engineers should strive to achieve, and must have gone above and beyond the typical expectations placed on a young engineer. 

Congratulations to Patrick Ragan, winner of the 2017 Outstanding Young Engineer Award!
(Photo courtesy of Andrew Breen)

Find the complete list of past winners here

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YEC Events

Happy Hours

Every few months we hold happy hour events downtown after work! YEC provides free appetizers. These happy hours are a great opportunity to network and meet other young engineers.

Post-Exam Celebrations

After the SE exams in the fall and spring, we host a post-exam celebration.  In past years, we have organized brewery tours, a Whirlyball game, and an outing to iO Chicago.  This is a great way to blow off steam after the stress of the exam!

Site Visits

Each spring and fall, we set up local site visits, with tours hosted by the structural engineers and/or general contractors.

Sporting Events

Each year we attend Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks, and Bulls games! We get a block of tickets and all enjoy the games together. 

Volunteer Opportunities

YEC provides volunteers for many local structural engineering events, including Future City, CAF Family Day, E-Week, CANstruction, Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity, Illinois State Science Fair, MSI Spring into Science, and more.  Please see our Outreach Events page for more information.

Panel Discussions

A few times a year, we hold panel discussions on topics of interest to young engineers. Past discussions have included preparation for the SE exam, as well as job searching and interview techniques.

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Meet the YEC!

Each member of the YEC oversees a specific area of activity. Read the full Roles & Responsibilities here. Click on any YEC member's name to jump to their photo and bio.

Co-ChairsMichelle Ryland and Mike Zelisko
Communications Chair -  Rami Asfahani
Membership Chair - Paul Papazisi
Professional Events Chair- David Nauheimer
Social Events - Mary Lou Kutska
Social Media Chair - Bethany Myelle
Volunteer Chair - Jonathan Tavarez
Past Co-Chair - Will Kolbuk 


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Michelle Ryland (Co-Chair)

Position: Associate III, Klein & Hoffman, Inc.

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Architectural Studies; M. Architecture (Structures Option)

Licensure: Licensed Architect, Illinois; EIT,

Illinois Societies: SEAOI, AIA

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Michael Zelisko (Co-Chair)

Position: Engineer II, Primera Engineers, Ltd.

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering; M.S. Civil Engineering

Licensure: P.E., Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, ASCE

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Rami Asfahani (Communications Chair)

Position: Structures Engineer, Ciorba Group, Inc.

Education: American University of Beirut, B.E, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Illinois Institute of Technology, M.S. Structural Engineering

Licensure: E.I.T. - Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, AAAEA

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Enji Paul Papazisi(Membership Chair)

Position: Bridge Engineer, HNTB Corporation

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering; M.S. Structural Engineering

Licensure: E.I.T. - Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, ASCE, AISC

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David Nauheimer (Professional Events Chair)

Position: Associate II, Sargent & Lundy, LLC

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering

Licensure: P.E., Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, AISC

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Mary Lou Kutska (Social Events Chair)

Position: Bridge Engineer III, HNTB

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering; University of California, Berkeley, M.S. Civil Engineering

Licensure: P.E., Illinois; S.E., Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, ACE Mentor Association, Women's Transportation Seminar

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Bethany Myelle (Social Media Chair)

Position: Design Engineer, Magnusson Klemencic Associates

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering; M.S. Civil Engineering

Licensure: E.I.T., Illinois

Societies: SEAOI

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Jonathan Tavarez (Volunteer Chair)

Position: Staff Engineer, American Institute of Steel Construction 

Education: University of Texas at El Paso,  B.S. Civil Engineering; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.S. Structural Engineering

Licensure: E.I.T., Texas

Societies: SEAOI, AISC, ASCE


Will Kolbuk (Past Co-Chair)

Position: Associate 2-Structural Engineer, Sargent & Lundy

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Civil Engineering; M.S. Civil Engineering

Licensure: P.E., Illinois

Societies: SEAOI, AISC, ACI

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