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Huaco honored for international activities

Daniel Huaco, a doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering, received one of the University's inaugural International Engagement Awards for his work coordinating fruitful collaborations between his department and earthquake officials in Peru.

Daniel Huaco, a doctoral candidate in civil engineering at the University of Missouri, was presented with one of MU’s inaugural International Engagement Awards on April 14 at the Chancellor’s Global Issues Forum.

The awards were created to recognize faculty, students and staff who go above and beyond in their international activities on behalf of MU.

In his nomination of Huaco, John Bowders, the William A. Davidson professor of civil and environmental engineering, noted that the Peruvian native played a pivotal role in the establishment of MU’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CERESIS, an organization responsible for earthquake research and design in Latin America and South America.

The agreement was completed in summer 2007, and in August, a magnitude eight earthquake occurred in Peru. Subsequently, representatives from MU traveled to Peru to assist CERESIS with site characterization for rebuilding schools, and again to assist with assessment and recommendations for earthquake-damaged buildings.

“These opportunities for MU faculty and students to travel and work in Peru may not have been possible without Daniel’s extensive efforts to organize the MOU and to facilitate the post-earthquake trips,” wrote Bowders.

Honored by the recognition, Huaco’s only disappointment with the fruitful collaborations is that he has not been able to bring Peruvian engineering students to MU.

“I came here and I saw a lot of international students, but not many Peruvians,” Huaco said. “They are so talented and the level of engineering is so high. This is still a goal for me.”

A master’s candidate when he arrived in 2001, Huaco will be defending his doctorate this spring. In 2002, he co-founded the MU Geotechnical Engineering Student Organization. The following spring, he led the Geo-wall team to a national championship, an accomplishment that has been repeated two more times in the last three years.

Additionally, Huaco has served as both a teaching assistant and a teacher, for which he received outstanding evaluations.

“He is widely recognized as a leader and one that students and faculty alike can turn to with difficult questions or challenging projects,” said Bowders.