By the end of the 2020-21 academic year, Colorado State University doctoral student Manideep Tummalapudi had been recognized by two professional organizations as a student with a bright future in the construction management industry.
Tummalapudi, a student in the School of Education and the Department of Construction Management’s Education, Equity, and Transformation Ph.D. program emphasizing construction management, has been recognized for his passion and love for teaching and the construction industry.
Winning a competitive scholarship
As the fall semester came to a close, Tummalapudi learned he’d been awarded the Construction Management Association of America National Foundation Scholarship, a highly competitive award for postsecondary students seeking degrees and career in construction management.
“I felt very good because this is not a small thing,” said Tummalapudi. “I don’t know how many people applied for it but winning an award at a national level made me feel proud. It gave me a lot of confidence that I will do well in the future, and that people recognize my contribution in the field of construction management and in the field of construction management education.”
In applying for the scholarship application, Tummalapudi submitted an essay describing his plans and commitment to a career in construction management, and how his experience aligns with the mission and vision of the CMAA Foundation. His goal in pursuing a Ph.D. is to be a university professor, teaching students and conducting research that informs the construction industry.
“My aim is to contribute to this ever-evolving world of construction in any way possible, within my scope and power, so as to contribute to enhancing the current conditions of construction education, workforce training and innovative strategies for construction companies to survive during economic recessions,” said Tummalapudi.
Outstanding Student Award
A mere three weeks after the start of the Spring 2021 semester, Tummalapudi received another accolade from a professional industry, learning he’d won the Outstanding Student and Young Professional Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Construction Institute. This award recognizes students and young professionals in the construction industry who are engaged in their communities, work to advance the profession, and exemplify integrity and regard for the industry.
“Manideep has such a love for construction and teaching others to have that same love,” said Gabrielle Grompone, chair of the Construction Institute’s Young Professionals Council. “His enthusiasm for research and improving the construction industry is inspiring to us all.”
“This is an outstanding honor and recognition of Manideep’s accomplishments,” said Paul Goodrum, professor and head of CSU’s Department of Construction Management.
Focused on research
Originally from India, Tummalapudi received his bachelor’s degree in his home country. After working for India’s largest construction company, L&T Construction, for two years, he decided to earn his master’s degree. He opted for a master’s degree in civil engineering at Bradley University in Illinois, where he discovered a keen interest in research. Tummalapudi’s adviser suggested he pursue a doctorate.
“I wanted to do my Ph.D. in construction management,” said Tummalapudi. “As I was searching for schools, I found this fantastic CSU program.”
The EET program is an interdisciplinary doctorate with a strong foundation in research and teaching. Designed to prepare students for faculty, research, curriculum development, and other educational roles, the EET program allows students to build a program of study around their area of interest.
With a need for qualified educators in the field of construction management across the country, CSU’s Department of Construction Management and School of Education have worked together to build a Ph.D. program that focuses on equipping future construction management faculty to research and teach in the field. Tummalapudi was excited to find a program that blended education and construction so intentionally.
“They want to train, or prepare, educators in construction management for the future,” said Tummalapudi. “They’re giving you construction management skills, and, at the same time, they are teaching you how to teach. To get more people involved in construction management, it is important to educate people about construction.”
Hoping to be an active participant in the construction industry as well as a professor in the future, Tummalapudi has been able to advance his research and knowledge at CSU. Working with CM faculty Chris Harper and John Killingsworth, Tummalapudi’s research is focused on developing roadmap for construction companies to employ during a recession. He is also working on creating an innovative construction education curriculum, potential applications for data analytics in the construction industry to improve efficiency and productivity.
“The program is helping me with my research – how to develop my research, and then how to create awareness of and teach about the development,” said Tummalapudi. “There have been similar researchers who develop innovative things, but they don’t know how to give it to the people, which is a big failure. Despite innovation, if someone can’t take it to the people, it’s really of no use to anyone.”
Tummalapudi attributes his success to his advisers and professors, in both the Department of Construction Management and the School of Education.
“I’d say I’d attribute everything to these people – they’ve supported me so much,” said Tummalapudi. “These are the kinds of people that we need in education. These are the kind of people that we need in the industry. They will pull you in the right direction and will show you what you should do. They will inspire you, and they will motivate you. When you are low, they will pull you up. They give you that confidence. It’s important to have fantastic professors in your student life and I’m glad I’m in the kind of environment that has fantastic people.”