Your Impact Update: May 2024

Student at NASCC: The Steel Conference 2024

Left to right: Mercy Kangogo from Tennessee State University,
Robert Bailey Bond from Northeastern University, and Ahmad Hassan
of Degenkolb Engineers (the 2024 Reidar Bjorhovde Award recipient)
attended NASCC: The Steel Conference in 2024.

It’s been a busy spring for the Foundation and our flourishing community of students, educators, and young professionals!

You may remember from our NASCC: The Steel Conference Impact Update that we brought five students and our Reidar Bjorhovde Outstanding Young Professional Award recipient to the Steel Conference thanks to generous support from donors like you.

I want to dive a little deeper into their week in San Antonio and share some feedback we received about their experiences, from the meaningful connections they made at industry networking events to the forward-thinking conversations they got to take part in at a variety of educational sessions.

R. Bailey Bond, who is in the homestretch of his PhD program at Northeastern University, had just one complaint about the conference: having to choose between so many exciting activities! During his time in San Antonio, he attended his first committee meeting and was blown away by the collaborative spirit of the group, he said.

“It felt like an industry push from underneath, where people aren’t hiding what their companies are doing to be competitive--they’re sharing to help the whole industry,” Bond said. “That was very cool. This conference came at the exact right point in my academic career--I want to continue this kind of growth I’ve had in my PhD program, and the Steel Conference is showing me that people in this industry are also very interested in learning and growing.”

Aditya Jhunjhunwala, a PhD student at U.C. Davis who also attended AISC’s Fall Task Committee meetings, shared that the Steel Conference offers young researchers opportunities he believes no other conference can provide. Jhunjhunwala’s research focuses on fracture assessment of welded steel connections.

“It’s the perfect place to network, to see old friends and make new connections, and to learn about all the new things happening in the industry and academic world,” Jhunjhunwala said. “At the sessions, you get to learn so much about things we as researchers don’t get to see--we get to talk to manufacturers and fabricators, and get all sides of it.”

Mercy Kangogo, a graduate research assistant at Tennessee State University, was thrilled to connect with students from all over, she said. The highlights of her week included an AISC staff-guided tour of the Exhibit Hall, the Students Connecting with Industry Sessions (SCIS), and a panel discussion on blast hardening and environmental sustainability.

“This is one of those conferences that I’ll definitely make a point to come to again and again,” Kangogo said.

As the Foundation continues to grow (thanks to you!), I look forward to finding more opportunities to engage students and provide them with up-close, thought-provoking, and future-focused interactions with our industry. I have seen firsthand how much it means to them, and I want to extend my thanks for your continued support of our efforts.

I look forward to keeping you posted on the impact you’re making. Stay tuned for your next update in August!


Maria Mnookin
Director of Foundation Programs
American Institute of Steel Construction