Engineering Systems and Environment Briefs

Welcome to Engineering Systems and Environment Briefs, a place to find quick notes and posts from our department faculty, students, staff and alumni.

    Associate Professor Qing “Cindy” Chang Receives National Recognition for Her Work in Smart Manufacturing

    June 10, 2020


    Associate Professor Qing “Cindy” Chang Elected as an ASME Fellow and Named One of the 20 Most Influential Professors by SME

    Qing "Cindy" Chang, an associate professor who has joint appointment in the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Systems and Environment, was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a national honor for eminent professors in mechanical engineering and typically reserved for full professors.

    Chang was also recognized as one the 20 most influential professors in smart manufacturing in the nation by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) . The society stated that “Chang is a pioneer in data-driven modeling and real-time production control and decision-making to improve the efficiency of manufacturing systems…Her work has been implemented in many General Motors plants in North America and demonstrated significant improvement in operational efficiency and economic benefit…it will potentially enable even greater economic benefits for many other industries.”

    “The focus on data-driven manufacturing requires future engineers to acquire training in data science, which is an enabling skill in the smart manufacturing field,” said Chang.

    Read more:

    ESE Ph.D. Student Recognized at University Level

    May 28, 2020

    Sarah Gustitus-Graham has received an all-University Graduate Teaching Award in recognition of her dedication and outstanding achievement. In the award notification, it was noted that the selection committee “was overwhelmed with the quality and dedication reflected in this year’s nominations, and yours was among the top of those submitted.”

    Gustitus-Graham was recognized for her efforts co-instructing the Introduction to Environmental Engineering lecture with the Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award. She became a co-instructor when she was selected as a Graduate Teaching Fellow for the spring 2019 semester. Prior to co-instructing this course, Gustitus-Graham served as a teaching assistant for the Introduction to Environmental Engineering lab as well as the Introduction to Geoenvironmental Engineering lab. Read more in UVA Today.


    Professor Goodall Will Co-Chair Committee for Virginia Created Through Legislative Action

    May 22, 2020

    Engineering Systems and Environment professor Jon Goodall will co-chair and serve as a subject matter expert for a new study committee of the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine initiated through Virginia Senate Joint Resolution No. 38, passed during the 2020 session of the Virginia General Assembly. The resolution directs the Joint Commission on Technology and Science to “study the safety, quality of life and economic consequences of weather and climate-related events on coastal areas in Virginia.”

    The Virginia Academy was created in 2013 in the mold of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to serve a similar purpose for the commonwealth — to bring together accomplished and innovative leaders in science, engineering and medicine to carry out studies and provide nonpartisan, objective guidance to decision-makers on the most challenging issues of the day.

    Goodall will co-chair the new committee with Antonio Elias, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine, where he serves as secretary and treasurer, and retired executive vice president and chief technical officer of Orbital ATK.

    Two Engineering Systems and Environment Students Named 2020 School of Engineering Outstanding Students

    May 13, 2020

    Students from the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, Anna L. Cerf and Emily C. Chen, have won two of the four 2020 School of Engineering Outstanding Student Awards. The award is given to a student or students — typically graduating fourth-years — who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance, leadership and service. It is one of UVA Engineering’s highest student honors.

    UVA Team Wins Environmental Design Competition, Qualifies for National Event

    April 24, 2020

    A team of University of Virginia undergraduates won first place in the Virginia Water Environment Association Student Design Competition, making them eligible to represent Virginia at a national competition in the fall.

    Civil engineering major Hania Abboud, systems engineering majors Ekaterina Forkin and Jason Jabbour, and environmental sciences major Anna Liang devised the winning design project, which proposes new infrastructure in the courtyard between UVA Engineering’s Olsson and Thornton halls to address stormwater management in the area. Winners were announced following team presentations on April 17, which took place by videoconference.

    The win comes with the opportunity for the team to compete in New Orleans at the 93rd annual Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference Oct. 3-7, a national event known as WEFTEC.

    The team also entered the proposal in the EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design competition sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for American colleges and universities. Winners of the EPA challenge have not been announced.

    “I’ve been so impressed with these students,” Brian Smith, professor and chair of the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, said. “The design they came up with proposes practical solutions to real stormwater challenges at the site they selected, and I love that the team is made up of undergraduates in different majors. It’s fantastic how they have taken their work beyond the classroom this year. I feel fortunate to be able to work with students like them.”


    Above, UVA team members and competition judges and organizers are shown on a video conference call. Presenting remotely didn't stop the UVA team from taking top honors.

    President Jim Ryan Dropped in on Systems Engineering Class

    April 16, 2020


    University of Virginia President Jim Ryan stopped by — in the virtual sense, of course — UVA Engineering on Tuesday, April 14, greeting the 80 students in a systems engineering class co-taught by Engineering Systems and Environment professors Bill Scherer and Reid Bailey. Ryan wished the students and their families well, and thanked them.

    “I know this is not the way any of us expected this semester to go, but I really appreciate how flexible you’ve been. And I especially appreciate how fantastic the faculty have been, so Bill and Reid, thank you as well.”

    The president stayed on the Zoom session, watching and listening as Bailey used slides, handwritten notes and polls to lead students through case studies in the System Evaluation course. After reviewing a study about the efficacy of N95 versus surgical masks in preventing flu infection, the class shifted to a traffic signal camera study in Albemarle County, where Bailey focused the discussion on validating data collected through experiments before drawing conclusions.

    “Topics like internal and external validity are fundamentals of experimental design related to making sure you don’t inappropriately interpret or overextend your results,” Bailey said. “A lot of people working with data don’t know this stuff. Many folks in analytics are focusing on the models and they’re not thinking as much about where the data came from, the context, the experimental design, and that’s something that’s going to make you different by having this class and being systems engineers.”

    Department Displays Range of Excellence in Graduate Research Symposium

    March 10, 2020

    The Department of Engineering Systems and Environment hosted its annual Graduate Research Symposium on Friday, Feb. 21, with 21 students showcasing their work. The poster presentations represented the full spectrum of research taking place across the civil and systems engineering graduate research programs. The event took place in the Link Lab Arena, as part of graduate recruitment activities hosted by the department and the School of Engineering.

    This year’s “People’s Choice Award” winners were systems engineering Ph.D. students Kylie Gomes and Logan Grant, who co-presented a poster related to their work in assistant professor Sara Riggs’ lab.

    They were selected by a popular vote of all event attendees, including students, faculty, staff and guests. A panel of faculty judges awarded first place among systems engineering presenters to Gomes and Grant. Second place went to Bingxu Li, a student in Greg Gerling’s lab. Among the civil engineering presenters, Arash Tavakoli of Arsalan Heydarian’s lab won first place, and Julia Bridstrup of UVA Engineering Dean Craig Benson’s Geoenvironmental Research Group won second place.

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    Civil Engineering Alumna Named Editor-in-Chief of Highly Regarded Journal, Environmental Science & Technology

    March 06, 2020
    Julie Zimmerman250.jpg

    Julie B. Zimmerman, who earned her degree in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Virginia, has been named editor-in-chief of Environmental Science & Technology, a publication of the American Chemical Society and a top environmental engineering journal. Zimmerman, who also held a civil engineering faculty appointment from 2005-2010 at the School of Engineering, is a professor of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale University.

    According to an announcement in Chemical & Engineering News, Zimmerman has been an associate editor of Environmental Science & Technology since 2012. Her research focuses on water treatment, environmental implications and applications of nanotechnology, and the integrated biorefinery. She is a coauthor of the textbook “Environmental Engineering: Fundamentals, Sustainability, and Design.” She recently testified before the House Committee on Science and Technology on the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2019.

    Zimmerman told Chemical & Engineering News that she hopes under her leadership the journal will “become a genuine catalyst for integrated systems thinking.”

    “ ‘We are not going to save the world with the same fragmented thinking that got us into these problems and we aren’t going to solve them with fragmented solutions,’ ” Zimmerman said in the news release. “ ‘This coming generation of problem-solvers will use the interconnectedness of our systems as a pathway toward global restoration and Environmental Science & Technology will be supporting and facilitating this work every day.’ ”