Jonathan Goodall, an associate professor of civil engineering in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment at the University of Virginia, has just been elected a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It is a distinction held by just three percent of the society’s members, and is given to those who contribute creative solutions to the world’s challenging problems.
Among the problems Goodall seeks solutions to is frequent flooding in low-lying areas such as Virginia’s Hampton Roads region. His goal is to help communities become more resilient to both floods and drought. An expert in hydroinformatics ― he also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Computer Science at the Engineering School ― his primary research focus is on creating new approaches for modeling hydrologic systems to achieve these aims.
"I owe this recognition to those who helped me along my career, including the excellent students I’ve had the opportunity to mentor and advise as research collaborators over the years."Jon Goodall, associate professor of civil engineering
Goodall’s research― supported by two National Science Foundation grants totaling nearly $4.5 million ― involves studying intelligent stormwater management infrastructure and computer modeling. He’s using new and existing sources of data to make more-detailed predictions of what will occur during weather events. With better information, local officials can make decisions to manage water resources in ways that take infrastructure, environmental concerns and the impact on residents into account.
He also is principal investigator on a Virginia Transportation Research Council-funded project to develop a cloud-based flood warning system for the Department of Transportation.
Goodall teaches hydrology, water resources engineering and hydroinformatics. In 2018, he received the Civil Engineering Teaching Award for quality teaching and commitment to students. He has mentored dozens of undergraduates who now serve throughout the water resources community, and is involved in mentoring initiatives at UVA focused on underrepresented groups in STEM fields. Additionally, he has advised seven Ph.D. and five M.S. students, and is currently mentoring a group of nine Ph.D. students and two postdoctoral researchers.
From 2014 to 2017, he was the faculty advisor for the University’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Goodall’s previous honors and research grants include the NSF CAREER Award and the International Society for Environmental Modelling & Software Early Career Research Excellence Award. He is an associate editor for Water Resources Research, Environmental Modelling & Software, and the ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering.
He also is associate director of the Link Lab, leads the Hydroinformatics Research Group, is a member of the Environmental Resilience Institute steering committee, and is an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Transportation Studies.
Recognizing Goodall’s many contributions in his field, it was Engineering Systems and Environment Department chair Brian Smith who encouraged him to apply for fellow status as a member of the society.
“I am very grateful for Brian’s encouragement,” Goodall said. “I am humbled to become an ASCE fellow and really owe this recognition to those who helped me along my career. They include the excellent students I’ve had the opportunity to mentor and advise as research collaborators over the years.”
Smith ― the first chair of the Engineering School’s newly created ESE department, which is now the University’s home for civil, systems and environmental engineering ― urged Goodall to apply in part because of his contributions to civil engineering through his hydroinformatics research.
Hydroinformatics is a multidisciplinary field that seeks to advance understanding and practice in the use of cyber-physical systems to manage water with natural and built environments, Smith explained. Goodall is an acknowledged leader whose work has been cited more than 1,800 times, and the author of a seminal paper providing a “defining vision for this important and growing field,” Smith said.
“The focus of this work is to apply and advance technology from multiple disciplines to improve the quality of life for our communities, which describes the fundamental mission of ESE,” he said.
He also noted Goodall’s role as interim director and now associate director of the Link Lab, UVA’s interdisciplinary cyber-physical systems research facility, as another way he personifies the department’s values.
“While CPS has traditionally been classified as a computer science area, UVA has placed a strong emphasis on both the physical and cyber aspects of CPS,” Smith said. “Jon has helped the lab blossom into the leading CPS research entity in the nation. Furthermore, he has ensured that physical disciplines, including civil and systems engineering, play a central role in the Link Lab at UVA. [His] vision and leadership are helping to move engineering into the future.”