Mark Arnoldy

mark arnoldy

Mark Arnoldy went on many campus tours during his college search. However, after his tour of GW, he knew he'd found a university with exactly the right mix of qualities for him, and he was attracted by the chance to live in the heart of the District of Columbia (DC). “It’s hard to beat your freshman dorm being steps away from the White House”, he said about Thurston Hall.

Mark knew that he wanted to be a civil engineer from the start, but he didn’t know what specific career within that field he wanted to pursue. Mark did know, however, that he wanted to break out of his high school comfort zone and take on new experiences that would broaden his horizons. His coursework in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering not only helped him figure out what he wanted to do as a career, but also allowed him to break out of his shell.

Beginning in his sophomore year, Mark spent his spring breaks volunteering with GW’s Alternative Breaks program in New Orleans, LA, constructing homes with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The program offered him a chance to apply the concepts he learned in the classroom in the real world. For example, framing houses was an opportunity to see Statics in action. And by his senior year, Mark wasn't just participating in the trip; he was a trip leader.

In the summer after his sophomore year, Mark interned at the US Environmental Protection Agency, working with on-scene coordinators to oversee the cleanup of hazardous waste sites. This internship inspired Mark to choose environmental engineering as his concentration, allowing him to take on more environmental coursework.

He also traveled to Istanbul, Turkey for the first semester of his junior year to study at Boğaziçi University. His time in Turkey was daunting but rewarding. Studying abroad was Mark's first time traveling outside the United States and, before arriving in Istanbul, he didn't speak a word of Turkish. Fortunately, he found out that science and engineering constitutes a universal language (only it is measured in metric units instead of US customary). During his time abroad, Mark was able to learn how to approach fundamental engineering concepts through a global lens.

After returning to DC, Mark was encouraged by friends in the civil engineering department to join GW’s Steel Bridge Team, an organization within GW’s American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chapter. The Steel Bridge Team works throughout the year to design and construct a 20-foot-long bridge that is entered into an annual student competition with other universities. The camaraderie Mark felt with his teammates gave him the courage to run for, and be elected as, GW’s ASCE chapter president in his senior year. In that role, Mark managed a team that conducted educational events and oversaw the Steel Bridge Team’s 1st place finish in the regional competition, leading the team to compete in the championship.   

Before entering his senior year, Mark joined Dr. Samer Hamdar’s Traffic and Networks Research Lab as a research assistant. He studied the effects of traffic safety parameters on vehicle emissions. This work was the culmination of Mark’s classwork and experiences at GW. He eventually presented his research at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, a gathering of thousands of transportation professionals from around the world. He was also chosen to represent the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at GW’s Senior Design competition, where he won ASCE’s Robert A. Marr, Jr. Technical Paper Award. 

Mark's work with Dr. Hamdar helped him discover his passion for air quality modeling and transportation, and Mark now works for a consulting firm to improve air quality and reduce emissions from the transportation sector and the built environment.