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ASU civil engineering student earns Outstanding Graduate recognition


Portrait shot of Aidan Carson

Aidan Carson

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November 22, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2023 graduates.

Aidan Carson’s journey into civil engineering started with his observation of a family friend's surveying firm.

“I was inspired by his love for his work and thought I would see if civil engineering was a good fit for me,” Carson says. 

His interest in the field led him to discover different facets of engineering including environmental engineering, fluid mechanics and water treatment. Carson says after learning about what it takes to treat water, he gained a new perspective on the resource.

“Water is such a valuable resource, and it is astonishing how much engineering goes into the movement, conservation and purification of this necessity,” he says.

Carson names Pavan Pillalamarri, an assistant teaching professor of physics in ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, as particularly influential on his education. Carson found that Pillalamarri’s PHY 121: University Physics I — Mechanics course instilled in him a deeper appreciation for learning.

Having struggled to find meaning in his studies early on, Carson says the physics course set him on the path to earn the title of Outstanding Graduate.

“A class like physics is foundational for most disciplines of engineering,” Carson says. “The fact that I left Dr. Pillalamarri’s physics class feeling really confident set me up for success for semesters to come.”

A memorable project for Carson was when he was tasked with writing a software program to automate a polygon arch-truss in his sophomore year. Utilizing the tutoring center, he dedicated hours not only learning how to code but developing his own unique program.

“Once I got the code to work, it was a rush like no other,” Carson says. “After I figured it out, the tutors who helped me offered me a job at the tutoring center because I was there so much.”

After graduation, Carson is set to join engineering consulting firm Kimley-Horn on the aviation engineering team. He aspires to contribute to large-scale aviation projects following his experience as an intern, through which he saw plans for Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

“Whatever I end up working on, I simply want to be excellent at my craft to serve my clients and community,” Carson says.

Outside of school, he enjoys finding opportunities to work with and mentor younger generations through his church. Carson’s proudest extracurricular projects are a podcast called E2E and staffing at a weeklong philosophy camp for high school students called Worldview Academy.

“If it hadn't been for Jesus, I would not have been able to serve like I did at this camp or any other day-to-day opportunities that have come my way,” he says.

Hometown: Chandler, Arizona

High school: Hamilton High School

Hobby: Spikeball

Band: Kings Kaleidoscope

Movie: "Surf's Up"

Sports team: Philadelphia Phillies

Book: The Bible

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