What's new in CEE?
Graduate students are the hands, arms, eyes, and ears of CEE when it comes to research and teaching. Accordingly, the goal of the monthly newsletter is to share information about grad-related matters and celebrate the achievement of our community of scholars. If you have professional news (e.g., papers accepted, conferences attended, or fellowships received) please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org!
CEE team takes top honors at WaterJAM
A team of CEE undergraduates and graduate students won first-place in a student design competition hosted by the Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA), as part of their annual WaterJAM event in mid-September. The team consisted of Ben Bowes, Mary Katherine Lawrence, Perrin Falkner, Kathryn Jaquish, and Syed Ahmed Kazmi.
The competition centered around delivery of a design plan for water supply, treatment, and distribution for a hypothetical city. Teams had five hours to come up with a technical solution, which they then presented and defended to a panel of practicing engineers. The team received a cash prize and a traveling trophy.
The CEE WaterJAM design team for 2017 (from left): Ben Bowes, Mary Katherine Lawrence, Perrin Falkner, Kathryn Jaquish, and Syed Kasmi.
Goodall group attracts prestigious funding
By: Jon Goodall (at editor's request)
Professor Jon Goodall's group has attracted new funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their research. One award is from the highly competitive Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP) program at NSF. The project, titled dMIST: Data-driven Management for Interdependent Stormwater and Transportation Systems, is a four-year, $2.5M project that will focus on adaptive management of coupled stormwater and transportation infrastructure during flooding events. The case study region for the project is Norfolk, Virginia and many graduate students from the Goodall group are working on this topic and contributed to the proposal, including: Jeff Sadler, Ben Bowes, Faria Zahura, and Alex Chen. Professor Goodall 's group will collaborate with Professors Donna Chen (CEE), Behl (CS/SIE), Gorman (E&S), and Whitehouse (CS) on the project. This project was enabled through recent conversations and efforts in SEAS to establish the Link Lab as an interdisciplinary research lab focused on cyber-physical systems (CPS). Professor Whitehouse is director of the Link Lab and Professor Goodall is the assistant director.
A second award is from the Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) program. This project, titled Overcoming Social and Technical Barriers for the Broad Adoption of Smart Stormwater Systems, is a four-year, $1.9M project that will focus on advancing real-time monitoring and control of stormwater infrastructure. The project is a collaboration with Professor Teresa Culver (CEE) along with Professors Branko Kerkez, the project principal investigator, and Joan Nassauer from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Professors Jon Hathaway and Lisa Mason from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and collaborators at EmNet, LCC. Both projects will allow graduate and undergraduate students to gain research skills in the growing area of adaptive management of civil infrastructure systems to both improve water quality and reduce flooding risks in the face of changing climate conditions. Congratulations to everyone who was involved in the preparation of these excellent proposals!
A conceptualization of the smart stormwater approach. (Courtesy of J. Goodall)
CEE grad earns recognition at NAE summit
By: Bethany Gordon (at editor's request)
In July 2017, over 1,000 engineering research scientists, policy-makers, and students attended the Global Grand Challenges Summit at George Washington University. The Summit is a collaborative effort between the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The 14 Engineering Grand Challenges were chosen as interdisciplinary goals that all engineers should be considering over the next decades. UVA Provost Tom Katsouleas is closely involved with the NAE Grand Challenges organization (the Scholars program at Duke is named after him), and UVA will hopefully have a Grand Challenge Scholars program soon.
The How to Change the World (HtCtW) workshops were a late addition to the program. They were designed to help strengthen communication skills of the engineering students involved in the Summit, as well as give them a specific reason to approach and have a conversation with Academy members attending the Summit. 150 students participated in the HtCtW workshops, and the challenge was to make a podcast communicating one or more of the Grand Challenges to the public. There were mentors available during pre- and post-Summit workshops that guided us through the process. At one of these workshops, I was introduced to Dr. Pablo Suarez – an administrator at the Red Cross Climate Centre in the Netherlands. In addition to interviewing him for the podcast, I also hope to collaborate with him on a research project in the future.
Editor's Notes: Bethany is an alumna of the UVA CEE program and a current GAANN Fellow and a SEAS Distinguished Fellow. Her podcast is getting great visibility (e.g., via UVA, NAE, and others). Take a listen!
Getting to know Professor Arsalan Heydarian
CEE is honored to welcome Professor Arsalan Heydarian. He joins CEE and the SEAS Link Lab from the University of Southern California. Arsalan was kind enough to be interviewed for the newsletter so that he can tell us about himself in his own words.
Where are you from, where did you do your undergraduate degree, and in what field(s)?
I was born in Tehran, Iran, and moved to the US when I was 13. Ever since, Harrisonburg VA has been my hometown. I did my undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech.
Where did you do your graduate degree(s) and who was/were your adviser(s)?
I did my first MS degree in Construction Engineering and Management at Virginia Tech under the supervision of Professor Mani Golparvar-Fard and my second MS degree in System Architecting and Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC). I received my PhD in Civil Engineering from USC where I worked with Professor Burcin Becerik-Gerber on how to design buildings around occupants’ behavior and preferences while reducing the energy consumption.
What is your research area and what courses will you be teaching?
My research area looks at the intersection of automated and smart systems and human behavior. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how automated smart systems (e.g., built environments, autonomous vehicles) can better understand human behaviors and optimize their operation based on the real-time changes in environment and users. I will be mainly teaching construction-related courses and will introduce a graduate level course related to my area of research in the coming semesters.
When/how did you know you wanted to pursue an academic career? How does it compare to industry?
I did not make that decision until I started my first MS degree at Virginia Tech. I became heavily involved with research and had the opportunity to work on cutting edge research. This experience made me interested in an academic career. In academia you have a lot more freedom to explore different ideas compared to industry. However, you have to learn how to manage your own time.
What drew you to UVA and/or what are excited about now that you are here?
The main thing that drew me to UVA is the initiative for interdisciplinary research at the university level and the type of research projects that faculty are doing here, which are complementary to my research interests. Also, being from Virginia, I am very familiar with the quality and talent of the undergraduate and graduate students at UVA.
What was the best part of graduate school (highlights, experiences, etc.)?
The best part of graduate school was the flexibility in both choosing interesting projects to pursue, as well as when I chose to work on them. Meaning, not only I was working on something that I was very passionate about but when I got bored or tired, I could just walk to the beach and enjoy the sunny southern California weather.
What piece of advice do you have for graduate students?
Time management, time management and yeah, time management.
CEE grad receives notable EREF fellowship
Sarah Gustitus, of the Benson research group, has been named a 2017 EREF Scholar. EREF is the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (formerly the National Solid Waste Management Association Foundation). Their mission is "to fund and direct scientific research and educational initiatives for waste management practices to benefit industry participants and the communities they serve."
Sarah's EREF-funded research will seek to develop new techniques for predicting the service life of geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) produced with bentonite-polymer composites. GCLs are composed of a layer of clay sandwiched between two geotextiles, creating a low hydraulic conductivity barrier to prevent landfill leachate from contaminating native soil and groundwater. Sarah holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida and an MS in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Auburn University. She joined CEE as a PhD student in August 2017. She is a SEAS Distinguished Fellow and a Jefferson Scholar.
NSF grad fellowship applications due Oct 24
A reminder that applications for the National Science Foundation (NSF's) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GFRP) are due on Tues, Oct 24. As of last year, students are only eligible to apply one time while they are in graduate school, either during their first or second year. Additional details are available from the GRFP website.
CEE is proud to have two current NSF Fellows: Kassandra (Kassie) Grimes and Courtney Hill. Students who are thinking of applying should talk with their advisers and seek out UVA resources related to preparation of application materials.
New courses for Spring 2018
Several new or recently redesigned courses will be offered next spring, including several by new faculty members. These offerings include:
- CE 5000 -- Large-Scale Construction Management, offered by Professor Heydarian
- CE 5500 -- GIS: Environmental Resilience, offered by Professor Band (co-listed with EVHY 5999 in Environmental Sciences in support of UVA's new Resilience Institute)
- CE 5500 -- Reinforced Concrete Design II, offered by Professor Gomez
Students who are interested in these classes should talk with their advisers and/or contact the instructors for additional information. The CE 5500 designation is a temporary placeholder for new courses.
Seeking volunteers for grad visit day: Oct 20
CEE will host several prospective graduate students on Friday, October 20. Several graduate student volunteers are needed to take the visitors to lunch and for a brief walking tour of the Central Grounds. Please email Professor Lisa Peterson if you are interested and available that day. Thank you for your efforts in recruiting top-quality prospective students!
CEE will be pleased to host the following speakers this month:
- October 6 -- Dr. Qian Chen, UVA Visiting Scholar. Hosted by Professor Marek Pindera.
- October 13 -- Dr. Julia Reis, Virginia Tech Post-doctoral Research Associate. Hosted by Professor Teresa Culver.
- October 20 -- Dr. Stefan Hurlebas, Texas A&M. Hosted by Professor Osman Ozbulut.
- October 27 -- Dr. Nicole Barclay, UNC Charlotte. Hosted by Professor Leidy Klotz.
Additional speakers will be added for later dates. A reminder that graduate students should check the schedule to see when they are assigned to assist as moderator or refreshments coordinators. Thank you.
Have you recently had a paper accepted, or do you have other professional or personal news that you'd like to share? Email it to email@example.com!