Building A Strong Foundation for Future Engineers

Matthew Reichenbach, PhD
Matthew Reichenbach, PhD

When Matthew Reichenbach, PhD, joined the College of Engineering as an assistant teaching professor in 2021, he brought with him a passion for civil engineering and a commitment to mentoring the next generation of engineers.

"Like many engineering professionals, I always excelled in my math and science classes in grade school," Reichenbach shared. "Civil engineering, in particular, allows individuals to apply those math and science skills for the betterment of society and our infrastructure."

Reichenbach earned his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, where his research focused on improving the design, analysis, and detailing procedures of steel bridges. At Drexel, he teaches a wide range of structural engineering courses, from First-Year Engineering Design to Advanced Steel Design. But his involvement with students extends far beyond the classroom.

As the faculty advisor for the Drexel Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) club and the Drexel Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC) team, Reichenbach guides students through the structural design and fabrication process in an engaging and competitive environment. "Advising the SSBC team is undoubtedly my favorite role in this position," he said. "Guiding students through the structural design and fabrication process in a fun, interactive, and competitive way is very fulfilling to me personally."

Looking to the future, Reichenbach emphasizes the critical role that engineers play in society. "I think the role and impact of structural engineers in society remains the same after all these years. We still shoulder the heavy burden of life safety for any and all users of civil infrastructure – buildings, bridges, tunnels, etc.," he said. "The advancement of technology might influence how we reach the final solution, but the final solution and the goal remains unchanged."

Reichenbach hopes to continue integrating modern technologies like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and computer analysis into his teaching while still emphasizing the fundamental principles of materials and mechanics. "As an educator and a licensed engineer myself, I feel obligated to prepare the students for the new and the old," he explained.

When asked about his experience at Drexel, Reichenbach's enthusiasm was evident. "Simply put, being a part of the Drexel and CAEE family has been a wonderful experience for me. Drexel consists of highly motivated students that are eager to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to their co-op experiences. As an educator and researcher, it is very rewarding to mentor young engineers of this caliber."