Tom Seybert

Associate Professor of Civil Engineering in Surveying
Penn State Wilkes-Barre Campus

Ph. 570-675-9139
Fax 570-675-7713

So, who is this guy?

Hi.  My name is Tom Seybert.  I am an Associate Professor at the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus where my primary duties include teaching surveying and engineering to the students enrolled in our associate degree and baccalaureate degree programs.  I have been working at this campus location since January 1996, however, I have a long association with Penn State University that started way back in the Fall of 1972.

I have completed the academic "hat trick" so to speak, receiving my B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Penn State, all in Civil Engineering.  On top of that, I have over 15 years of teaching and research experience with Penn State at the three campus locations of Beaver, University Park and Wilkes-Barre.  Some people say that every fall my blood turns blue on football Saturdays.  Well, they are probably right.  Penn State is a great place to pursue an education.  It is a great place to work.

What kind of courses does he teach?

Currently, I teach surveying and engineering to surveying students.  We have a pair of programs at Wilkes-Barre for the prospective professional surveyor.  We offer the degrees of Associate of Engineering in Surveying Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Surveying.  I typically teach the first year courses of Plane Surveying (SUR 111) and Curve Geometry (SUR 112) to incoming students.  I am also responsible for the delivery of the Fluid Flow (CET 261), Stormwater Management (SUR 385), and Land Development Design (SUR 482) courses to the third and fourth year students. These are my primary teaching responsibilities, however, like all faculty involved in the surveying program, I have opportunities to teach other surveying courses as the need arises.  To learn more about the surveying program at Penn State, visit our program web site at and browse a bit.

What about professional expertise?

Along with my interest in surveying, I am an urban hydrologist.  You might say, oh, that's nice.  What is an urban hydrologist?  Well, in very simple terms, an urban hydrologist is someone who studies the rainfall-runoff process in the urban environment.  In particular, I am interested in such issues as stormwater management, flood control, surface water quality, transport of surface pollutants in runoff, removal of pollutants in runoff, groundwater recharge and other surface water issues as they pertain to the urban environment.

Outreach Activities to professionals?

I enjoy participating in continuing education for practicing professionals.  Since 1984, I have been involved in an annual short course titled "Computational Methods in Stormwater Management" which is delivered by the Continuing and Distance Education folks of Penn State's Office of Outreach and Distance Learning.  We have around 40 to 80 people per year attend the course, which has been very successful and well received.  I have been the chairperson of this short course since 1992.  This activity keeps me connected with practicing professionals and affords me the opportunity to discuss current engineering design issues in the class room with undergraduate students.  The next offering of this course is June 15-17, 2000. Check our web site at for more information.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the development of two surface runoff models at Penn State.  As a result, I have become the primary technical support person for these models at the University.  The first model is the Penn State Runoff Model (PSRM) which has been around since 1975.  This is a regional runoff model used in "watershed-wide" stormwater management planning.  I became involved with the model in 1994 when it was upgraded to include runoff quality modeling routines.  The other model is the Virginia Tech/Penn State Urban Hydrology Model (VTPSUHM) which was initially distributed in 1984.  This model is a site specific hydrologic analysis tool for handling stormwater runoff in land development design.  Both models are modified regularly and used in the private sector by civil and environmental engineering consultants.

Service to the profession?

Well, let's see.  Currently, I am a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyor's Registration Law Task Committee.  The committee is charged with providing recommendations for updating Pennsylvania's registration law for Engineers, Surveyors and Geologists and is concentrating on changes to the surveyor's portion of the law.  Issues that are being considered for change are (1) minimum education requirements, (2) continuing education requirements for licensed professionals and (3) professional seal issues, particularly those issues associated with digital drawing files.

 I worked with faculty at Villanova University to deliver the 1999 Southeastern Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Symposium held at Villanova's Connelly Center.  The focus of the conference was implementation of best managment practices to improve the quality of urban runoff. Key persons involved in the symposium were Robert Traver of Villanova University, Durla Lathia of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Wes Horner of the Brandywine Conservency Environmental Conservancy.  Details about the conference can be found at http://www.homepage/

What about personal interests?

I enjoy classic automobiles and sports cars.  I have owned a few classics in the past, particularly a 1966 Dodge Charger, a 1967 Chevelle Sport Convertible and a 1969 Corvette L46 coupe. They were all fun to own and drive.  I still own the Dodge, however my daily driver is an old BMW 325i (188,000 miles and running strong).   I like fast cars but I am still not a NASCAR fan.  I must admit though, my brother Ron did get me to sit through the Bristol 500 and the Pennsylvania 500 this past year. Scary.

I enjoy singing.  I am not an excellent singer, yet I can carry a tune without using a bucket.  I have been a member of a church choir for more than ten years now.  I usually sing tenor, but this year I have been moved to the bass section to give the choir a bit more balance.  Occasionally, I have very short solo parts in the choir.  However, these solos have been more accidental than planned, if you know what I mean.

I enjoy attending theatrical performances, particularly Broadway style shows.  To date, my two most favorite shows are "Les Mis" and "Fiddler on the Roof,"  however I have many more shows that I would like to see.  I also enjoy orchestral performances and the opera.  I was exposed to the theater while attending Penn State University as an undergraduate student.  I have been enjoying stage productions ever since.  Oh, to play Inspector Javert just once!

I like biking.  I own a mountain bike and ride it whenever I can.  I prefer to bike the back roads of Pennsylvania where traffic is light and nature is robust.  I really enjoy biking in the Kishacoquillas Valley of Mifflin County Pennsylvania.  There the Amish folk live in large numbers and it is interesting to observe them in a passive (passing) fashion.  A real bonus of biking in Amish country is that the motorists are accustomed to driving slow among the buggies.  That works for me!

I also like hiking.  I prefer day trips, but occasionally I do the back-pack thing.  My favorite hiking area is the Pine Creek Gorge of north central Pennsylvania. There is just something about those trails and trees and mountains and streams in that area. The hikes are rigorous yet relaxing.  Since moving to north-eastern Pennsylvania a few years ago, I have re-discovered Ricketts Glen State Park as another favorite hiking area.  Wow! This park is absolutely beautiful.  I particularly enjoy hiking the glen immediately after a freshly fallen snow.  So peaceful and calm, it is a great get-a-way outing.

And of course, what I love above all else, are my wife and children. My beautiful wife, Chris, and I enjoy all kinds of travel, especially Disney World and Cape May, where we honeymooned. My daughter, Beth, is studying acting at Arcadia and my son, Ben, is a senior at Holy Redeemer looking to be a pharmacist. Our cattle dog, Ramsey, is also a part of our family that we enjoy. I may have mentioned my family last, but that is because I saved the best for last.

Send me an e-note if you wish.  I always enjoy the mail!

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