2016-2017 Annual Report School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology
HIKING, DAY 5 OF 16. ELEVATION: 17,585 FT: Undergraduate civil engineering student Maggie Lindsey, left, hikes Renjo La Pass in Nepal with her roommate of three years, Hannah Larson. The pair spent a month exploring Nepal following Lindsey’s spring 2017 internship with Miyamoto International in Kathmandu. Photo: Uzol Rai. “This high pass connects two major valleys in the Khumbu region. We started hiking at 5 a.m. that morning and reached the top of the pass after a difficult, five hour, uphill climb. At the top of this pass is a panoramic view of Mount Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Makalu, four of the eight highest mountains in the world.” –Maggie Lindsey READ MORE ABOUT LINDSEY’S HIKE TO MOUNT EVEREST BASE CAMP — AND WHAT IT TAUGHT HER — ON PAGE 44.
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dedicated to solving problems and improving the human condition since 1898.
We are CEEatGT.
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No. 4 Undergraduate environmental engineering program
No. 2 Graduate civil engineering program
No. 7 Graduate environmental engineering program
Undergraduate students: 693 Graduate students: 466 Women: 43% Minority: 18% International: 36% Students-to-faculty: 20:1 Undergrad job placement: 90% Student organizations: 10 Study abroad trips funded this year: 67
S O U R C E S : C E . G AT E C H . E D U / S O U R C E S
No. 2 Undergraduate civil engineering program
AS ENGINEERS, WE ARE PROBLEM SOLVERS. WE KNOW HOW TO TAKE A CHALLENGE, BREAK IT INTO ITS COMPONENT PARTS, AND SYSTEMATICALLY ADDRESS IT. AND AS CIVIL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERS, HUMAN CHALLENGES ARE AT THE HEART OF EVERYTHING WE DO.
THE PUBLICATION OF THE REPORT YOU HOLD IN YOUR HANDS is, in many ways, a high-water mark in our year at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. It closes the chapter on all that we’ve accomplished and experienced throughout the last academic year, serving as a reminder of all the good that comes from our toil. This year, it also closes the book for me on a very significant part of my life: my almost two decades at Georgia Tech. As you may have heard by now, I stepped down as the Karen and John Huff School Chair June 30 to become the next dean of engineering at Rice University. So, as the annual report encapsulates our year from July 1 of one year until June 30 of the next, delivering this snapshot of 2016-2017 to you serves as my final act as chair. (In fact, by the time you read these words, my esteemed colleague Kimberly Kurtis will have assumed interim leadership of the School. Read more about her and the process to find my replacement on page 3.) As engineers, we are problem solvers. We know how to take a challenge, break it into its component parts, and systematically address it. And as civil and environmental engineers, human challenges are at the heart of everything we do. That’s obvious when we work to provide the world with clean water and air. Maybe it’s less so when we dive deeply into the principles of fluid mechanics or study the intricacies of origami. But all that we do serves to make people’s lives better. As undergrad Rebecca Yoo puts it, “Not everyone has a place to stay. Not everyone has clean water every day. And … if someone is missing out on those basics, then they’re missing out on the rest of what life has to offer.” HEAR MORE ABOUT REBECCA’S STORY AT CE.GATECH.EDU/ANNUALREPORT
The people focus of our work, the heart in it, is why we say “People are our priority. The world is our laboratory.” This year, you’ll find that idea of solving problems and making people a priority infused throughout this report. You’ll read about new 3-D printing techniques that allow structures to deploy across the fourth dimension of time, discovery of a new bacteria that’s making the ocean’s dead zones even more dead, and a new concrete reinforcement extending bridge lifespans past 100 years. And keep in mind, we’re only able to offer a few snapshots of what we’re doing. You can always find more on our website year-round and through our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts (look for CEEatGT). It has been my honor and privilege to lead this organization for the last five years, to say nothing of being a member of the faculty for 15 before that. I’m enormously gratified at the opportunity and responsibility granted me by the leadership of Rice University. But this School — its amazing students, faculty, staff and alumni — will always claim a special place in my life. Thank you for your support and friendship over the years. What we do here simply is not possible without you. I will be watching fondly to see how this place continues to change the world, always a ramblin’, gamblin’ helluva engineer. WITH YELLOW JACKET PRIDE,
Reginald DesRoches, F.ASCE, F.SEI Professor and Karen and John Huff School Chair
JULY 2016 â€“ JUNE 2017
LEADERSHIP Reginald DesRoches, Ph.D., F.ASCE, F.SEI Karen and John Huff School Chair and Professor Donald R. Webster, Ph.D., P.E. Associate Chair for Finance and Administration and Professor James A. Mulholland, Ph.D. Associate Chair for Graduate Programs and Professor Susan E. Burns, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs and Georgia Power Distinguished Professor Adjo A. Amekudzi-Kennedy, Ph.D. Associate Chair for Global Engineering Leadership and Research Development and Professor Christi B. Tillery Director of Development firstname.lastname@example.org 404.385.1604
790 Atlantic Drive N.W. Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0355 email@example.com P / 404.894.2201 C E . G AT E C H . E D U W O R D S BY J O S H UA S T E WA RT PHOTOS & DESIGN BY J E S S H U N T- R A L S T O N
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SCHOOL OF CIVIL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING AT GEORGIA TECH
School Chair Reginald DesRoches named dean of engineering at Rice University
Bridging the gaps
Meet our interim chair: Kimberly Kurtis
Hannah Greenwald is Tech’s top engineering undergrad
Himanshu Wad transforms a determined dream into a degree
Helen Heindl masters the college experience
New faculty member Xing Xie works to clean water with microbes
Patricia Mokhtarian appointed to new Pappas Professorship
P R O B L EM S O LVE R S
3-D printing gets hotter
Shadows in the sea
A study in safer cycling
Robots to the rescue
IN SEARCH O F
Trek up Mount Everest reminds Lindsey to ‘just keep walking’
Rethinking career and competition: Australia makes an impression on Melissas
In Nicaragua, Eichbauer learns simple sometimes works best
Global Engineering Leadership Minor
FA C U LT Y 15
51 London 52 Netherlands 53
China + Japan
Saved you a seat
Hats off: Corporate Affiliates Program caps a successful first year
Fall Hyatt Speaker: Emmy Montanye
Liquids, germs, aerosols
Spring Hyatt Speaker: Suzanne Shank
All aboard: Leaders in construction, law, social media among newest members of School’s External Advisory Board
Our External Advisory Board
Save the date: Puerto Rico alumni trip
A WATER-SAMPLE COLLECTOR IS LOWERED INTO THE PACIFIC OCEAN NEAR MEXICO. WHAT RESEARCHERS FOUND WHEN THEY ANALYZED THEIR SAMPLES, PAGE 19.
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Scho o l Cha i r
RE G INALD DE S RO CH ES
named dean of engineering at Rice University REGINALD DESROCHES, chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, became dean of Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering July 1. “We are all deeply grateful to Reggie for his many years of extraordinary service to Georgia Tech,” said Dean of Engineering Gary S. May. “Under his leadership, the civil engineering undergraduate and graduate programs have risen to second place in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. In addition, Reggie has increased the School’s commitment to educating students with a global perspective as well as a focus on sustainability. His worldview of civil engineering has led the School and its students into research and service in areas in need of basic infrastructure and support. We all appreciate his tireless efforts on behalf of the School, the College, and the Institute and wish him well.” DesRoches joined the faculty of Georgia Tech as an assistant professor in 1998 after completing his Ph.D. in structural engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He was named the Karen and John Huff School Chair in 2012. As chair, DesRoches oversaw a $13.5 million renovation of the Mason Building; doubled the number of named chairs and professors; guided the development of a new minor in global engineering leadership; and led a comprehensive strategic planning process. He has served as thesis adviser
to 30 doctoral candidates and 17 master’s students. “Georgia Tech is a remarkable place with amazing people, and I am honored to have been part of this community for the last two decades,” DesRoches said. “Leading the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been a privilege, giving me a front-row seat to the pioneering work of researchers designing the future of our world, acquainting me with talented alumni the world over, and allowing me to teach and work with some of the most gifted students in our field. I cherish the collaborations and friendships I have made here, and look forward to continuing them as I embrace new opportunities at Rice University as dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering. “Tech has been my home for these last 19 years, and I am immeasurably grateful for its defining role in my life.” A fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, DesRoches specializes in research on the design of resilient infrastructure systems under extreme loads and the application of smart and adaptive materials. A native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, DesRoches served as the key technical leader in the United States’ response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. –Kay Kinard
M eet our i nt er i m cha i r:
K I M B E R LY K U R T I S KIMBERLY E. KURTIS became interim chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering July 1. Kurtis has served as the College of Engineering’s associate dean for faculty development and scholarship since April 2014 and has been on the civil engineering faculty since 1999. “I am delighted that Kim will take on the position of interim chair for CEE,” said Gary S. May, College of Engineering dean and Southern Company Chair. “Kim has shown leadership in developing programs that promote equity, diversity and advancement of faculty as well as having an extremely active and productive research laboratory. I am confident that the School will continue to thrive under her guidance during this transition period.” Kurtis will continue in the role until a new chair is named. May said he wants someone in place by July 2018. May has announced School of Materials Science and Engineering Chair Naresh Thadhani will lead the search committee tasked with finding a permanent chair for civil and environmental engineering. “Reggie’s outstanding leadership and many accomplishments during his tenure as chair have continued to elevate the stature of the School, which has been recognized as among the very best in the country,” Kurtis said. “It is truly my honor to serve as interim chair of CEE during this period when the School embarks on a national search for a permanent chair.” Kurtis earned her bachelor’s in civil engineering from Tulane University under a Dean’s Honor Scholarship and her Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, 3
where she was a Henry Hilp Fellow and a National Science Foundation Fellow. Kurtis’s innovative research on the multi-scale structure and performance of cement-based materials has resulted in more than 150 refereed technical publications and three U.S. patents. In addition to her technical and educational contributions to professional service organizations, she has served in two leadership positions central to advancing science-based research on cement-based materials: chair of the American Concrete Institute Committee 236: Materials Science of Concrete from 2006 to 2012, and chair of the American Ceramic Society’s Cements Division for 2008-2009. Kurtis has served as associate editor of the American Society of Civil Engineers Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering and as an editorial board member of Cement and Concrete Composites and Cement and Concrete Research. After six years on ACI’s Educational Activities Committee, she is currently serving on the organization’s 12-member Technical Activities Committee, which oversees development of ACI standards, technical committee activities, and technical content presented at ACI conventions and in archival publications. Kurtis has been honored with ACI’s Walter P. Moore Jr. Faculty Achievement Award, ACI’s Del Bloem Award for Service, Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Senior Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, the ACI James Instruments Award for Research on Non-Destructive Evaluation of Concrete, and the ASCE Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize. Kurtis is a fellow of the American Concrete Institute and the American Ceramics Society. –Kay Kinard
HAN NAH G R EEN WALD
is Tech’s top engineering undergrad
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“A student like her is so exceptional and unique that any professor would be privileged to meet one or two like [Hannah] in his or her whole career.”
ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING SENIOR HANNAH GREENWALD has earned the highest honor from the Georgia Tech College of Engineering, the Davidson Family Tau Beta Pi Senior Engineering Cup. The award recognizes academic excellence, leadership and service, and it goes to only one graduating senior each year. “My last four years at Georgia Tech have been the best of my life,” said Greenwald, who graduated in May. “This school has helped shape me into the passionate engineer I am, and it’s incredible knowing I left an impression on Georgia Tech as well. Georgia Tech is an incredible place, and I’m honored to be able to represent it.” The award came on the heels of another significant achievement for Greenwald. She learned in the spring she will receive a National Science Foundation fellowship to pay for her graduate education. Professor Sotira Yiacoumi, who nominated Greenwald for the Tau Beta Pi Cup, said she’s not surprised by all the recognition coming Greenwald’s way. “She deserves them all,” Yiacoumi said. “Having Hannah as my student has been one of the biggest rewards I have received as a university professor. A student like her is so exceptional and unique that any professor would be privileged to meet one or two like her in his or her whole career.” Yiacoumi said she was so impressed with Greenwald in class that she
called a meeting to tell Greenwald how talented she is and to encourage her to continue her education. Greenwald said that changed her whole future. “That conversation is what first made me consider academia as a potential career path, and now I’m on my way to getting my Ph.D., thanks to her,” Greenwald said. She’s had a number of Tech faculty members pulling for her. “Joe Brown mentored me through writing my first research proposal for the NSF graduate research fellowship. And, of course, I can’t talk about faculty support without mentioning Monica Halka. “Monica has written every letter of recommendation I have needed. She always contacts me when she hears of an opportunity she thinks I would be interested in. I am so appreciative to have someone like her looking out for me. She is certainly a role model for me, and I hope that, one day, a student looks up to me like I look up to her.” Greenwald has been making a good impression on faculty members and the wider Georgia Tech community for a while. In 2016, she was recognized by the Georgia Board of Regents for her scholastic achievements, an honor reserved for only one student from Georgia Tech. The Tau Beta Pi Cup is supported by the family of Narl Davidson, who served as associate dean in the College of Engineering before his retirement in 2006.
GET TO KNOW HANNAH AT CE.GATECH.EDU/ANNUALREPORT 6
HIMANS H U WAD
transforms a determined dream into a degree THE DAY HIMANSHU WAD landed in Atlanta was also his first day outside of India. “I landed in Dallas in the afternoon, then Atlanta in the evening,” he said. “I walked out, and it really was a whole new world.” Wad came to Georgia Tech in 2015 to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering with a focus in transportation systems. He’s the first in his family to earn a degree from an international university. When he started investigating the idea as an undergraduate in Nasik, India, it was more of a dream — he hadn’t known anyone who went abroad for a similar degree. Once he was accepted to Georgia Tech, though, it became real. Despite the large investment required for pursuing international education, his father knew it was worth it. He had spent five months working at the University of Maryland during his own postdoctoral research. “My mom and dad had more faith in me than I did — they never flinched about it,” Wad said. Once Wad got to Tech, his family kept cheering him on from across the ocean, calling every day to check on how things were going. Now, Wad has a full-time job lined up with Jacobs Engineering, where he also interned. He has spent the past year and a half studying transportation engineering in one of the most traffic-addled cities in the United States. Going in and out of utility boxes around the city for work has let him get to know Atlanta more intimately than some who have lived here their whole lives. “I chose civil engineering because I wanted
to see something change because of the efforts I put in,” he said. “There’s a lot of improvement happening in traffic engineering, but it’s an underdeveloped field. I want to be able to work on the systems side as things change, and Tech has equipped me with everything I need. I’d love to try to implement some of what I’ve learned back home someday.” One thing Wad will miss about graduate school is the relationships he developed within the transportation systems group. Though it took a few months to settle into life at Tech, his cohort eventually became a second family. A room in the Sustainable Education Building served as their central meeting point. His roommates for the past six months also became some of his closest friends. “Everyone is so positive, so encouraging,” he said. “Honestly, I’ll miss lecture, figuring things out as a group, the little arguments and laughter in SEB 101. And the really fast internet.” Since he’ll be living and working in Atlanta, Wad plans to stay connected to Tech. As an undergraduate in India, Wad captained his school’s ping pong team, but he never had a chance to play with Tech’s table tennis group as a graduate student. Now, he hopes to have time for that in post-graduate life. He also hopes to help his younger sister eventually study in the United States as well. “There is so much to learn here, and the U.S. has one of the best education systems in the world.” –Kristen Bailey
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â€œEveryone is so positive, so encouraging. Honestly, Iâ€™ll miss lecture, figuring things out as a group, the little arguments and laughter in SEB 101. And the really fast internet.â€? 8
HE LE N HEIN D L masters the college experience
WHEN HELEN HEINDL walked across the Commencement stage in December, it was her second time in 12 months earning a degree from Georgia Tech. She graduated with a bachelor’s in civil engineering in December 2015, then Georgia Tech’s BS/MS program — which lets students earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years — drew her in for another round. After graduation, she started a full-time job in property risk consulting. She’s been an executive board member of Chi Epsilon (a national civil engineering honor society), conducted soil research in France, started a custom hula hoop business, and conducted research to pay for her master’s degree. Six years ago, though, she almost didn’t even go to college. “I was really bad in high school — a terror,” Heindl said. As she approached the end of her high school career, she was abusing alcohol and drugs. She planned to finish high school, skip college, and run away to California. Her older sister insisted she apply to at least one college, though — Georgia Southern University — and went as far as filling out Heindl’s application, completing her financial aid forms, and signing her up for the ACT. Her sister didn’t stop there: She also attended orientation with Heindl, drove her four hours away to move her in, and helped her set up her dorm. “She was the only one who could get through to me,” Heindl said. At Southern, Helen found the Collegiate Recovery Program through friends. She got sober and started working toward transferring to Tech. “I was so focused on being the best version of me I could be,” she said. Tech took some adjustment. Previously, her hard work had translated to perfect grades. Now, she found the same effort sometimes earned her C’s. “Once I realized I didn’t have to be the best, though, it was so much easier,” she said. “When I realized I could get a C on something and be fine, I relaxed, and then I was able to actually think and could get an A. I had to stop taking myself so seriously.” One way to not take yourself too seriously? Start hula-hooping. Around the time Heindl transferred, she spotted a flier for Flow at Tech, a prop manipulation club. Flow at Tech performs at events on campus and beyond, including local music festivals that attract thousands of people. Heindl’s chosen prop is a hula hoop, and she designed a custom weighted hoop that is also packable (allowing her to take one along to France during her research work). She also recognized the need for continued recovery support. She was one of the first members of Tech’s Collegiate Recovery Program after she transferred from Southern. Heindl researched what other programs were doing around the country and even attended a national conference on the topic to help establish Tech’s community. With more drug- and alcohol-related deaths every year, this program helps students focus on academics and create a positive, supportive community.
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“Once I realized I didn’t have to be the best, though, it was so much easier. When I realized I could get a C on something and be fine, I relaxed, and then I was able to actually think and could get an A. I had to stop taking myself so seriously.” “College is a place where [students sometimes feel pressure] to binge drink, use uppers for studying, and downers to go to sleep,” Heindl said. “There is a taboo related to being clean and sober. The CRP is a relaxed environment where students can find support, friendship — and the occasional free lunch.” In recent years, Helen has become closer, not just to her sister, but to her parents as well. They attended her Commencement, just as they did in 2015, but this time, Heindl had a treat for them that she’s adopted from her boyfriend’s family. “It’s a Chinese tradition to buy dinner for your friends and family when you get your first job,” she said. –Kristen Bailey 10
New faculty member
XING X IE
works to clean water with microbes THE NEWEST MEMBER of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty found his passion almost by accident. Some funding issues when Xing Xie was a Ph.D. student at Stanford University led him to explore other opportunities on campus to support his graduate studies. What he found was another adviser, a materials science engineer interested in using nanomaterials for environmental applications. The result of that perhaps happy accident has been a two-pronged approach to environmental engineering for Xie. “One is the material; the other is the microbe, because my previous experience, before I was exposed to materials science, was environmental microbiology,” he said. “I really want to combine my knowledge on micro-organisms and the materials” to accomplish three goals, he said: killing microbes where we don’t want them, using new materials to grow microbes that we can use to clean waste water, and creating new processes to monitor microbes. “Basically, how you interact with microbes: you either kill them, you grow them, or you just keep an eye on them,” Xie said. For the first of those goals, Xie said we could skip the chemical disinfection of water that’s been the traditional standard for a century and use an electric field to kill pathogens in drinking water supplies. That could have all kinds of benefits. “We have a lot of issues when we go through this chlorination process. We have disinfection byproducts. Also, the water can be corrosive, so some of the pipelines can release toxic ions into the water — for example, lead,” Xie said. “We’re trying to see whether we can develop a new
water disinfection technology where we don’t need to put chemicals into water at all.” Xie is working at the small scale in the lab now, but he said the approach could potentially become a device that people attach to their faucets as a kind of last line of defense. He also sees the possibility of much larger-scale implementation. “The largest market is the drinking water treatment plants — treating thousands of gallons per day or even more,” he said. “That would be the biggest promise in the future.” Xie’s second goal — growing useful microbes — would come into play on the other side of the equation: treating waste water after we use it. His work focuses on developing new materials to accelerate the process of growing microbes that eat the organic waste so we can discharge the water back to the environment. Xie also has been working on microbial electrochemical processes that could recover energy from waste water at the same time we’re removing the organic waste. “[We’re] developing new processes where you see similar performance but less energy consumption, or we even have some energy gained from the processes,” he said. Xie will be doing all of that as the School’s new Carlton S. Wilder assistant professor. He arrived in April 2017 after completing postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology. He’s already published nearly three dozen peer-reviewed articles, including in big-name journals like Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Nature Communications. And he has helped develop technology that’s the basis of eight different patents.
appointed to new Pappas Professorship TRAVEL BEHAVIOR SCHOLAR PATRICIA MOKHTARIAN has been named the Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Mokhtarian serves as the first-ever Pappas Professor, an honor made available when the Pappas family created the new named position last summer. Mokhtarian, a professor in the School since 2013, was selected for the distinction by a group of her fellow civil and environmental engineering faculty. “I am thrilled and deeply honored by this unexpected appointment,” Mokhtarian said, noting the prestige and additional resources that come from this kind of position “can bring additional attention to the outstanding work of the transportation group at Tech.” “It also gives me the resources to take a few risks, to develop some ideas, to conduct some studies that may not have attracted funding from our conventional sources, but which can be extremely powerful in setting new directions for future research and application,” she said. Mokhtarian has made her career studying travel behavior, especially the impact of telecommunications technology on that behavior. She’s a widely recognized expert in the field, and currently chairs the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research. “Pat’s work has positioned her as one of the world’s foremost scholars on how, where and why we travel,” said Karen and John Huff School Chair Reginald DesRoches. “That makes her an ideal fit for the Pappas Professorship. I can’t wait to see the innovative work that she’s going to do as a result of this well-deserved appointment.” The new professorship is the result of a desire by
Susan and Christopher Pappas to support the work of faculty in the School. Both earned their civil engineering degrees from Georgia Tech in 1978. “As we thought about the ways we could best help improve Georgia Tech going forward, one element that stood out for us was the need to retain high quality teaching talent,” said Christopher Pappas, who serves as CEO of Trinseo, a global chemical company that manufactures plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber. “We are hopeful that this professorship will be one component that helps to retain the high quality of faculty talent that Tech offers.” The Pappases said giving back has become more important to them as they’ve achieved greater success in life, and they wanted the place they met to be a part of that commitment. “Georgia Tech was the place we met as students, became engaged, and then married shortly thereafter,” Christopher Pappas said. “We thoroughly enjoyed our time [on campus], and it has many lasting memories for us. It also defined us as young adults.” The Pappas professorship was the second new named faculty position created in 2016 for civil and environmental engineering professors. The School’s leadership and alumni advisory board have made securing new named chairs and professorships a key priority, aiming to triple the number of such positions within the next five years. “I am so grateful for the vision of Christopher and Susan Pappas, who understand the value of this kind of academic freedom, and for their generosity in making that vision a reality,” Mokhtarian said.
“Pat’s work has positioned her as one of the world’s foremost scholars on how, where and why we travel.” 14
ROBLem S LVER∫
IT’S NO SURPRISE to anyone who’s been paying attention that the world faces significant challenges in the decades ahead. Growing population, a changing climate, radical advances in technology, crumbling or inadequate infrastructure, to name but a few. For our students and scientists, however, the exciting and energizing reality is that many of the solutions to these and other global issues will come from the civil and environmental engineers who are today learning, working and leading in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. To answer the call of service from our global society, we’ve started to think differently about our work, including shedding the traditional boundaries between civil and environmental engineering disciplines. That is freeing us to consider new ideas, new collaborations, new sources of inspiration, and new areas of inquiry. Now we like to think of our contributions to society in three broad, cross-cutting research areas: Sustainable Communities, Resilient Infrastructure Systems, and Smart Cities.
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This is where we’re working at the front lines of the world’s grand challenges, at the intersection of social and economic systems, the built environment, and our natural world. By no means do these areas cover the full tapestry of creativity and impact of our research endeavors. But these three broad areas represent the interdisciplinary focus of our scientific work. It’s work that crosses traditional boundaries to develop new knowledge, technology and innovations, and ultimately, to invent a future where our global society thrives. GLAUCIO PAULINO LOOKS THROUGH AN OBJECT MADE USING TENSEGRITY PRINCIPLES.
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OPPOSITE: RESEARCHERS HOLD SMALL MODELS MADE FROM 3-D PRINTED STRUTS AND CABLES THAT CAN BE COLLAPSED AND THEN UNFOLD WHEN HEATED. THE TEAM CAN CONTROL HOW THE OBJECTS EXPAND BY USING SHAPE MEMORY POLYMERS FOR THE VARIOUS SECTIONS OF THE STRUCTURE THAT UNFOLD AT DIFFERENT TEMPERATURES. THESE 3-D PRINTED STRUCTURES ONE DAY COULD BE USED FOR SPACE MISSIONS OR BIOMEDICAL DEVICES.
3-D printing gets hotter A TEAM OF RESEARCHERS from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a way to use 3-D printers to create objects capable of expanding dramatically that could someday be used in applications ranging from space missions to biomedical devices. The new objects use tensegrity, a structural system of floating rods in compression and cables in continuous tension. The researchers fabricated the struts from shape memory polymers that unfold when heated. “Tensegrity structures are extremely lightweight while also being very strong,” said Glaucio Paulino, Raymond Allen Jones Chair in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “That’s the reason there’s a heavy amount of interest right now in researching the use of tensegrity structures for outer space exploration. The goal is to find a way to deploy a large object that initially takes up little space.” The research, which was reported in the June issue of the journal Scientific Reports, was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The researchers used 3-D printers to create the struts that make up one of the primary components of the tensegrity
structure. So they can be temporarily folded flat, the researchers designed them to be hollow with a narrow opening that runs the length of the tube. Each strut has attachment points on each end to connect to a network of elastic cables, which are also made with 3-D printers. Once the struts were heated to 65 degrees Celsius, the researchers could partially flatten and fold them into a shape resembling the letter W. The cooled structures then retain the temporary shape. With all cables attached, the objects can be reheated to initiate the transformation into tensegrity structures. “We believe that you could build something like an antenna that initially is compressed and takes up little space, but once it’s heated, say just from the heat of the sun, would fully expand,” said Jerry Qi, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. A key component of making 3-D printed objects that can transform into tensegrity structures was controlling the rate and sequence of expansion. Shape memory polymers enable the researchers to fine-tune how quickly each strut expands by adjusting at which
Researchers create 3-D printed tensegrity objects capable of dramatic shape change temperature the expansion occurs. That enables structures to be designed with struts that expand sequentially. “For bigger and more complicated structures, if you don’t control the sequence that these struts expand, it tangles, and you have a mess,” Paulino said. “By controlling the temperature at which each strut expands, we can have a phased deployment and avoid this entanglement.” The term “tensegrity” comes from a combination of the words “tensional integrity,” a concept that has been used as the structural basis for several notable projects through the years, including a large pedestrian bridge in Brisbane, Australia, and stadium roofs such as the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, South Korea. The researchers envision that the new 3-D printed structures could be used for super light-weight structures needed for space exploration or even shape-changing soft robots. “These active tensegrity objects are very elegant in design and open up a range of possibilities for deployable 3-D structures,” Paulino said. –Josh Brown WATCH HOW THE 3-D PRINTED TENSEGRITY STRUCTURES EXPAND AT CE.GATECH.EDU/ANNUALREPORT 18
Shadows in the sea
IN OCEAN EXPANSES where oxygen has vanished, newly discovered bacteria are diminishing additional life molecules. In essence, they help make virtual dead zones even deader. It’s natural for bacteria to deplete nitrogen in oxygen minimum zones, ocean regions that have no detectable O2. But as climate change progresses, OMZs are ballooning and that depletion is on the rise, drawing researchers to study it and the possible ramifications for the global environment. Now, a team led by the Georgia Institute of Technology has discovered members of a highly prolific bacteria group known as SAR11 living in the world’s largest oxygen minimum zone. The team has produced unambiguous evidence that the bacteria play a major role in denitrification. The researchers, with School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. student Despina Tsementzi as lead author and Carlton S. Wilder Associate Professor Kostas Konstantinidis as a co-author, published their findings in August in the journal Nature. Q: WHY DOES DENITRIFICATION MATTER? While melting ice caps and dying polar bears splash across headlines, climate change is stressing oceans in other ways, too, such as warming and acidifying waters. Loss of ocean oxygen and nitrogen are pieces of that bigger puzzle. And anyone who has picked up a bag of fertilizer knows nitrogen is a building block of life. “It’s an essential nutrient,” said Frank Stewart, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences. “Nitrogen is used by all cells for proteins and DNA.” Taking nitrogen away makes it 19
Global warming, a dead zone and mysterious bacteria
harder for algae and other organisms to grow or even live. Algae absorb carbon dioxide, so when algae are diminished, that leaves more of that greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It’s not yet clear how heavily this particular loss of CO2 absorption weighs in the global balance. Q: HOW DO THESE NEWLY DISCOVERED BACTERIA DEPLETE NITROGEN? With O2 gone in the oxygen minimum zones, the Georgia Tech researchers found the newly discovered strains of SAR11 bacteria (and some other bacteria) respire NO3 (nitrate) instead. They kick off a chemical chain that leads to nitrogen disappearing from the ocean. “They take nitrate, convert it into nitrite (NO2), and that can ultimately be used to produce gaseous nitrogen,” Stewart said. Plain nitrogen (N2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) would result. “Both of those gases have the potential to bubble out of the system and leave the ocean.” That makes the oxygen-barren waters even less hospitable to life while putting more nitrogen into the air as well as nitrous oxide, another key greenhouse gas. The newly discovered members of the SAR11 bacteria clade — a branch of living species — appear to be the single largest contingent of bacteria in OMZs. That makes them a significant player in nitrogen loss. Previously known SAR11 are so incredibly widespread in the ocean, it’s surprising they’re not a household name. They may even comprise the largest number of living organisms on Earth. Until now, SAR11 have been known to require oxygen to live, so finding SAR11 that respire nitrate is new and surprising.
A CAROUSEL OF COLLECTOR TUBES ABOUT FOUR FEET IN LENGTH ENTERS THE OCEAN OFF MEXICO’S PACIFIC COAST. RESEARCHERS DEPLOYED THE DEVICE TO COLLECT BACTERIA SAMPLES IN THE OCEAN’S OXYGEN MINIMUM ZONE. THEY DISCOVERED BACTERIA MAKING THESE ZONES IN THE OCEAN EVEN DEADER BY SUCKING UP LIFE-GIVING NITROGEN MOLECULES.
Q: WHY IS THIS DISCOVERY SCIENTIFICALLY SIGNIFICANT? It upends quite justified scientific doubts. Scientists thought SAR11 wouldn’t have strains that flourish in the harsh OMZ environment, because the SAR11 clade doesn’t have a reputation for being very adaptable. “When their genomes do change, they’re usually very subtle changes,” Stewart said. Many other bacteria, by contrast, plunk in and out big chunks of their
P H OTO : H E AT H E R O L I N S
DNA, making them widely adaptable. Also, though researchers had already detected genetic signatures of SAR11 bacteria in OMZs, they didn’t think the bacteria were actually at home there. These facts put the team under a heavy burden of proof. Q: HOW DID THE SCIENTISTS ANSWER THE DOUBTS? They flushed out the genomes of 15 individual new bacteria strains they had captured as intact single cells.
Surprisingly, the researchers found It did. the blueprints for an enzyme, nitrate “Not all studies that do this kind of reductase, which could allow the genome-based analysis take that extra bacteria to breathe nitrate in place step,” Stewart said. of oxygen. But it nailed nagging doubts. Since the novel bacteria have not yet The thorough analyses produced a been grown in the lab, the researchers critical dataset for science to build upon. inserted their nitrate reduction gene More study will be needed to find out sequences into E. coli bacteria to see what adaptations allow SAR11 bacteria if they would use the DNA to produce to exist under such harsh conditions. the enzyme, and if the enzyme would –Ben Brumfield then work. READ MORE AT CE.GATECH.EDU/ANNUALREPORT
LEFT PHOTO: JUSTEN CLAY
RESEARCHERS from the School of Civil and dung cake burning for cooking The team’s analysis also found the and Environmental Engineering have are important when health and monuair pollution created from burning found burning trash around the Taj ment preservation are of interest,” said trash, primarily in poorer neighborMahal is not only a major factor in the Russell, Howard T. Tellepsen Chair and hoods, leads to roughly 713 premature monument’s discoloration, it’s contribRegents Professor in the School. deaths in Agra, the city around the uting to hundreds Taj Mahal. What’s of premature deaths more, the research each year. said exposure to the The study, published pollution could have in October in the other health impacts journal Environmental that are more diffiResearch Letters, builds cult to measure, such on previous work that as acute reactions by led local communities visitors to the area. to ban the burning “Although it seems of cow dung cakes, a obvious, it perhaps common cooking fuel. takes an outsider to Now scientists have notice the significance quantified how much of municipal solid of the organic matter waste burning that deposited on the Taj is happening all over Mahal comes from Indian cities. Backing burning municipal that hunch with field solid waste, and it’s measurements and 12.5 times greater than quantitative data does the particulate matter much to advance the generated from the science,” Russell said. dung cakes. The Times of India “While the response reported this is the to the initial work was first study to assess to address dung cake the direct impact of burning, another — garbage burning on albeit now obvious the iconic monument, — contributing factor though past studies ARMISTEAD “TED” RUSSELL HELPED IDENTIFY TRASH BURNING AS A MAJOR FACTOR IN THE DISCOLORATION was identified after have looked at better OF THE TAJ MAHAL. WHAT’S MORE, HE AND HIS COLLEAGUES FOUND BURNING HOUSEHOLD GARBAGE IN THE doing some careful ways to manage solid NEIGHBORHOODS AROUND THE MONUMENT LEADS TO MORE THAN 700 PREMATURE DEATHS EACH YEAR. and novel additional waste in Agra. field work and modeling analyses,” Russell and his colleagues from the Russell’s team noted those solutions researcher Armistead “Ted” Russell University of Minnesota, the Indian have not been priorities because they told the journal’s sister website EnvironInstitute of Technology, and Duke didn’t appear to have significant impact mental Research Web. University found open burning of on the discoloration of the Taj or public “We don’t want our study to detract municipal solid waste accounts for 150 health. They said their new findings from the earlier focus on providing clean mg of fine particulate matter per square prove the opposite: developing better cooking fuels in Agra. We show that meter deposited on the Taj Mahal every waste-management infrastructure can municipal burning is a larger contribyear. The dung cakes account for 12 mg make a big difference. utor, but both municipal solid waste per square meter annually.
R I G H T : R O B F E LT
Burning trash in India a major cause of Taj Mahal discoloration that also leads to hundreds of premature deaths
A study in safer cycling Which bicycle infrastructure makes riders safer? Turns out, we don’t know yet
KARI WATKINS RIDES ACROSS A BIKE LANE IN MIDTOWN ATLANTA. WATKINS AND A TEAM OF RESEARCHERS FOUND THERE’S NOT ENOUGH RESEARCH ON BIKE LANES, CYCLE TRACKS OR ANY OTHER KIND OF BICYCLE INFRASTRUCTURE TO SAY WHETHER THEY ACTUALLY IMPROVE RIDERS’ SAFETY. THE RESEARCHERS HAD SET OUT TO DEVELOP STATISTICAL TOOLS TO HELP ENGINEERS DETERMINE WHETHER BICYCLE INFRASTRUCTURE REDUCES THE RATE OF ACCIDENTS, BUT THEY FOUND YAWNING GAPS IN THE PUBLISHED DATA INSTEAD.
SHARED LANE MARKINGS. Bike lanes painted a bright color. Bike boxes at intersections. Cycle tracks that provide physical barriers between bikes and cars. Communities have built these and other flavors of infrastructure to try to make it safer for people to ride their bikes along roadways or through neighborhoods. But which ones work best? The short answer is, we just aren’t sure yet. That conclusion comes from a group of School of Civil and Environmental Engineering transportation researchers who analyzed studies on the effectiveness of bicycle safety infrastructure. Their work appeared in the June issue of the Journal of Safety Research. The longer answer is, of course, more complicated. “There’s just so little research that we really have no idea how well most of these pieces of infrastructure are working in terms of keeping people safer,” said Kari Watkins, Frederick Law Olmsted associate professor and one of the study’s co-authors. That means transportation planners have no clear sense of the right solution for any given area, which was a concern for the Georgia Department of Transportation. The agency asked Watkins, then-master’s student Jonathan DiGioia, research engineer Ann Xu, Principal Research Scientist Michael Rodgers, and Professor Randall Guensler to see if they could help fill in that gap and develop what planners call “crash modification factors. Those are statistical tools that can tell engineers whether their interventions actually reduce the rate of accidents. “They’re investing now in this kind of [bicycle] infrastructure, and they want to know what they should be building,” Watkins said. So the team reviewed dozens of studies of bike infrastructure going back decades, but they only found 19 with meaningful results. And what they found were yawning gaps in data about all kinds of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.
“[The studies’ authors] were using everything that they could get their hands on to try to [assess various bike infrastructure],” Watkins said. “We’re not getting data in place so that these studies can be done the way that they need to be.” It’s a complex problem, Watkins said. People tend to under-report bike-versus-car or pedestrian-versus-car crashes, in the first place, especially when there are no or minor injuries. When they do report crashes involving bicyclists, police reports aren’t designed to capture data that would help researchers understand what happened and why. We also don’t know how many people are riding bikes and where they ride. And all of that together means we can’t develop accurate measurements of the risks to bicyclists. Researchers call this “exposure data.” Watkins said that data plays a key role in explaining the raw crash numbers. “You might hear in the news about some big report that there are twice as many bike crashes as there were the year before in the city of Atlanta,’” she said. “But then you dive a little bit deeper, and you find out that there were four times as many people commuting to work by bike. “If you’ve quadrupled the number of people cycling and only doubled the number of crashes, that’s actually half the crash rate.” Watkins said researchers also may have missed relevant and insightful studies from other countries where much more bicycling infrastructure exists, like Germany and the Netherlands, simply because the work has not been translated into English. It’s also unclear whether approaches that work in those countries would work here anyway. Still, she said, it’s clear that much more work remains to understand when it makes sense to paint a bike lane or physically separate bicyclists from cars or something in between. “What really needs to happen is, every time there’s new infrastructure going in, there has to be a very thorough before and after study that goes with it.”
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Researchers work to make robots the first-responders after nuclear power plant disasters
DISASTERS at nuclear power plants present all kinds of problems for search and rescue teams, from lethal radiation exposure to danger from weakened structures. Associate Professor Yong Cho has begun work on a new project that could one day put robots on the ground in the immediate aftermath of a meltdown or other catastrophe, helping to rescue people trapped in the plant and contain dangerous nuclear material in situations where quick action is critical. With funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, Cho and Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jun Ueda will work with a team of South Korean researchers to solve some of the key challenges for robots at nuclear disaster sites. They’re one of the teams involved in a 23
three-year, $6 million collaboration between the United States and South Korea, and their work could bear fruit for all kinds of disaster sites. “This is a global problem in disasters,” said Cho, who runs the Robotics and Intelligent Construction Automation Lab in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and is the project’s principal investigator. “We’ve picked nuclear sites because it’s a more severe situation than other disaster sites. It’s hard to send people to work there. It’s a completely remotely operated process. So, we chose the most difficult situation [because] if our approach works here, it should work at other disaster sites as well.” To allow robots and their remote operators to work deep in wrecked and contaminated nuclear plants, the researchers
will develop a 3-D model of the disaster site using the work Cho has been doing with a scanning robot his team built. “Theoretically, we can map the whole site, digitize the whole nuclear plant, and then [rescue workers] can send the robots to the priority areas for rescue or search missions,” Cho said. The project also will develop algorithms that teach robots how to recognize objects in the disaster site that have been damaged. “When structures are damaged, how can we recognize this is a beam or column or this is a boiler system?” Cho said. “I’m working on damaged or deformed object recognition and classification, because the robots need to recognize what it is first, then they can work on it.” Cho also wants to use his mobile scanning robot to update the 3-D models in real time so operators manipulating robots by remote can see what they’re doing and multiple robots can work together.
L E F T P H O T O : R O B F E LT
Robots to the rescue
R I G H T : Á LVA R O PA U L
THIS MOBILE ROBOT AUTONOMOUSLY GATHERS AS-BUILT INFORMATION FOR CONSTRUCTION SITES OR EXISTING BUILDINGS. EQUIPPED WITH A LASER SCANNER AND THERMAL INSPECTION SYSTEM, THE ROBOT CAN GENERATE A REAL-TIME 3-D POINT CLOUD MAP OF A SITE. IT’S ONE OF TWO ROBOTS INVOLVED IN YONG CHO’S NEW PROJECT EQUIPPING ROBOTS TO WORK IN NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF DISASTERS. THE GOAL IS FOR THE ROBOTS TO CARRY OUT EMERGENCY WORK AND SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS.
RESEARCHERS LOWER A CONCRETE TEST SPECIMEN INTO THE SAVANNAH RIVER THAT CONTAINS A NEW STAINLESS STEEL REINFORCEMENT. GEORGIA TECH AND GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION RESEARCHERS DEVELOPED THE REINFORCEMENT FOR BRIDGES IN MARINE ENVIRONMENTS, AND TESTING REVEALED IT LASTS WELL BEYOND THE STRUCTURES’ 100-YEAR LIFESPAN. THE INNOVATION HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED IN SEVERAL COASTAL GEORGIA BRIDGES, AND OTHER STATES HAVE BEEN EVALUATING IT FOR USE IN THEIR BRIDGES.
New corrosion-resistant concrete reinforcement extends life of coastal bridges
A COLLABORATION between Georgia Tech and Georgia Department of Transportation researchers has developed a new steel to reinforce concrete bridge piles in marine environments that withstands corrosion and lasts well beyond the expected 100-year lifespan of the structures. The work was so impactful the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, or AASHTO, named it one of the group’s 2016 Sweet Sixteen high-value research projects. “The new goal of the Federal Highway Administration and Georgia DOT is to have a design life for bridges of 100 years or more. Current steel reinforcing in piles in marine environments totally corrodes in less than 40 years,” said School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Emeritus Lawrence Kahn, who led the effort along with Professor Kimberly Kurtis and School of Materials Science and Engineering Professor Preet Singh. “Georgia DOT wanted a reinforcing material that would last 100-plus years and could be used to construct prestressed concrete piles using conventional construction techniques.” After testing six stainless steel alloys, conventional alloys and polymer materials, the group settled on a new type of stainless steel reinforcement, Kahn said, “the first-ever high-strength stainless steel prestressing strand made of a duplex stainless alloy.” The new concrete piles with the stainless steel reinforcement did so well in tests in the Savannah River and at the School’s Structural Engineering and Materials Lab that Georgia DOT used them on two bridges right away with more to come. Engineers in Virginia and Florida also have tested the new stainless steel reinforcement for use in those states. “Tests to failure demonstrated that the stainless steel reinforced piles had strengths the same or greater than those of conventionally reinforced [piles] and that current AASHTO bridge design standards may be used for design and construction of stainless steel reinforced piles,” Kahn said. Plus: “Environmental exposure and corrosion testing indicated that the stainless steel prestressing strands will last much longer than the 100-year requirement.” READ MORE AT CE.GATECH.EDU/ANNUALREPORT
Liquids, germs, aerosols WHEN JOE BROWN went to India in summer 2016, he was hoping to collect samples that could help answer some questions he’d been thinking about for a while. His years studying sanitation and global health had given him the idea that the open sewers and overflowing latrines common in the dense cities of the developing world could be linked with disease through an unusual mechanism: airborne transmission of pathogens. In other words, it’s not just the well-documented connection between unsafe water, poor hygiene, or direct contact with sewage that leads to poor health in communities lacking effective sanitation. It could also be that pathogens are flying through the air. What he found along the Ganges River and next to open sewers in Kanpur, India, confirmed it was an idea worth pursuing. “We found aerosolized Giardia, we found aerosolized Salmonella, Shigella, enterotoxigenic E. coli,” Brown said, “all kinds of things that we weren’t sure were transmissible in aerosols. These are some of the most important pathogens affecting health in low-income communities.” Now he wants to expand the work, and the National Science Foundation has given him the resources to do it with an Early Career Development award. 25
Known as CAREER awards, these fiveyear grants are NSF’s most-prestigious award for early career faculty. They identify potential leaders and academic role models, giving them funds to build the foundation for a lifetime of study. In some ways, Brown said, the work he’s proposing is uncharted territory. He’ll combine two areas of research that haven’t come together much. “I’m really interested in microbial risks at the interface between air and water,” he said. “Scientists studying air quality don’t generally know much about pathogenic microbes, especially those associated with water and sanitation. Others studying environmental health microbiology [typically] study
waterborne transmission; they don’t know much about bioaerosols. Those communities don’t intersect very often.” Brown wants to study three cities in the developing world: Kanpur, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and La Paz in Bolivia — three places where he’s worked, where he has connections and collaborators, and where poor sanitation is the norm. Think open sewers flowing with a mixture of human waste, trash, storm water, and industrial discharge. That means lots of people live in close proximity to waste that’s often teeming with nasty pathogens, a problem exacerbated because many infectious diseases already circulate in these communities. Brown aims to find out if those open sewers and overflowing latrines are allowing dangerous pathogens to become airborne and increasing the risk of people getting sick. “Right now, we’re just trying to understand, are there pathogens there? Are they viable? Do they contribute to enteric disease risks? The fundamental work we propose will help us better understand whether sanitation-related bioaerosols are an important pathway for exposure in urban environments.”
LEFT PHOTO: RACHEL BRASHEAR
Danger in the air? Joe Brown wins NSF CAREER grant to find out
R I G H T : R O B F E LT
STUDENTS COLLECT WATER SAMPLES NEAR THE WATER TREATMENT PLANT IN COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA. JOE BROWN HAS WON A PRESTIGIOUS CAREER AWARD FROM THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION TO EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITY THAT DISEASE-CAUSING PATHOGENS CAN BECOME AIRBORNE IN URBAN AREAS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES LIKE BOLIVIA.
New NSF project will create more accurate, faster interval-based approach to assessing structures for damage THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION has funded a new collaboration between three School of Civil and Environmental Engineering researchers that could make finding damage in bridges or buildings easier and help reduce life-threatening failures. If successful, the team will be able to produce more reliable predictions about how structures behave, and their algorithm will be able to do the predictions
much more quickly than current practice for structural damage and deterioration assessments. That means in the aftermath of disasters like 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, officials could rapidly identify the most critical structures and prioritize repairs. The project relies on the synergy of mathematical, computational and experimental methodologies that have matured largely in isolation from each other within different engineering disciplines. The team uses Rafi Muhanna’s interval-based uncertainty treatment, Francesco Fedele’s optimization techniques, and wireless monitoring sensors developed by Yang Wang in the context of a new interval-based optimization approach to assess structural systems and detect damage. It’s what scientists call an “inverse problem” — you have a structure and want to work “backwards” to predict its properties. “We want something more concrete, more practical, and based on very innovative fundamental theoretical background,” Muhanna said. “As such, we do not propose an incremental approach, but instead we wish to offer a new perspective with an interval-based approach that
enables us to identify damage in structures directly from raw measurements of displacements or accelerations,” Muhanna said. He said measurements like this are inherently uncertain — the measuring devices themselves have tolerances and field conditions vary. So the team’s method uses data expressed as intervals rather than one specific value. “You can install sensors over a bridge, or any structure, and collect whatever data you wish — it might be strain, acceleration, among others,” Wang said. “We can process the data through our new methods and predict the material properties at different locations. That means if we have significant damage in the bridge, we can figure out the location and the amount of reduction in the bridge’s stiffness.” “So instead of inspecting the bridge physically, you have more information available to figure out exactly where the damage is, and you go and repair it.” Muhanna added. The current approach to doing this kind of work involves taking measurements of a bridge, building, or other structure and calculating a specific value that predicts the condition of the structure. The problem is, our measurements are inherently inaccurate. He said any number of other factors also can affect measurements taken in the field. So the resulting prediction is unrealistic — it relies on assumptions, and a small change in those assumptions can change the resulting prediction. Maybe a lot. In this project, the research team will create a tool that accounts for all of that uncertainty.
YANG WANG STANDS UNDER A HIGHWAY OVERPASS, THE KIND OF BRIDGE THAT MUST BE INSPECTED ON A REGULAR BASIS TO ENSURE ITS SAFETY. WANG IS WORKING WITH RAFI MUHANNA AND FRANCESCO FEDELE ON A NEW APPROACH FOR ASSESSING STRUCTURAL DAMAGE AND DETERIORATION THAT COULD PRODUCE MORE RELIABLE PREDICTIONS ABOUT HOW THEY BEHAVE AND DO IT MORE QUICKLY THAN CURRENT PRACTICES.
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School Chair. “It is yet another example of the outstanding faculty that we have and how highly their work is regarded.” For the Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy and Health, the goal is to bring together research in transportation and public health to address the impact of emissions. Michael Rodgers leads Georgia Tech’s work evaluating the effects of port-related emissions on human health. “We are excited about this opportunity to combine the expertise of transportation and environmental professionals with those of health experts to better understand ways in which both transportation workers and the public, especially underrepresented communities, can be better protected,” Rodgers said.
TOP PHOTO: ROB FELT
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION announced in December it would invest $300 million in new research through University Transportation Centers, including half a dozen where the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering will play a significant role. Those centers will focus on, among other things, congestion in the Southeast; transportation emissions’ relationship to energy use and public health; using robots and unmanned aerial vehicles for bridge inspections; and improving travel-behavior models by accounting for people’s attitudes. The Teaching Old Models New Tricks Center based at Arizona State University will tackle that last item, with the potential to vastly improve how transportation planners predict travelers’ reactions to new policies, trends and technologies. “Currently, regional travel-behavior models include only ‘objective’ variables such as travel times, costs for various alternatives, and sociodemographic characteristics of the traveler,” said Patricia Mokhtarian, who will coordinate the research components of the new center. “They ignore key elements of human decision-making — our perceptions, opinions, lifestyle choices, and personality traits — and as a result, have only a limited ability to explain behavior.” Mokhtarian said those models don’t do well with fast-moving societal trends or new technology that can heavily influence our travel choices. “I’m extremely excited by this award, because it endorses the pursuit of ideas that I have been thinking about and discussing for some time — ideas that could lead to a marked change in the way we forecast regional travel demand,” said Mohktarian, the School’s Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor. “It will be exhilarating to be working with such brilliant minds to achieve a major breakthrough in the realism of the tools needed to inform the planners and policymakers of the future.” “It is impressive to have faculty members in our School involved in so many of the successful transportation center proposals,” said Reginald DesRoches, the Karen and John Huff
BOTTOM: JOSHUA STEWART
Sustainability, emissions, travel behavior among focuses of 6 new University Transportation Centers
UNIVERSITY TRANSPORTATION CENTER GRANTS Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox announced $300 million in new grants for transportation research in December 2016. These are the centers where School of Civil and Environmental Engineering researchers will play a major role. Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy and Health (CAR-TEEH) Georgia Tech Lead: Michael Rodgers Lead University: Texas A&M University Focus: Understanding and modeling on-road transportation emissions and their implications for air pollution and human health, including the impact of new technologies on emissions and the effects of energy policy and air pollution regulations. Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars Georgia Tech Lead: Catherine Ross Lead University: University of Texas at Arlington Inspecting and Preserving Infrastructure through Robotic Exploration (INSPIRE) Georgia Tech Lead: Yang Wang Lead University: Missouri University of Science and Technology Focus: Developing an automated approach to field inspection and preservation of elevated structures like bridges using advanced autonomous systems with unmanned aerial vehicles and robotics. National Center for Sustainable Transportation Georgia Tech Lead: Randall Guensler Lead University: University of California, Davis Focus: Helping federal, state, regional, and local agencies improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions from passenger and freight travel.
TOP: NORFOLK SOUTHERN’S INTERMODAL HUB IN AUSTELL, GEORGIA. BOTTOM: REQUESTING A RIDE THROUGH THE LYFT SERVICE’S APP. RESEARCHERS IN THE SCHOOL ARE HELPING LEAD SIX NEW FEDERAL UNIVERSITY TRANSPORTATION CENTERS THAT FOCUS ON EVERYTHING FROM IMPROVING HOW TRAFFIC AND FREIGHT MOVES THROUGHOUT THE SOUTHEAST TO UNDERSTANDING HOW PEOPLE MAKE THEIR TRAVEL DECISIONS — INCLUDING WHEN TO USE NEW TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS SUCH AS RIDE-SHARING.
Other projects include the National Center for Sustainable Transportation based at the University of California, Davis, which works to reduce emissions from passenger and freight travel. Randall Guensler leads Georgia Tech’s work with that center. There’s also the Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars at the University of Texas at Arlington, which involves Catherine Ross. STRIDE: Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center develops strategies to reduce regional traffic congestion using new vehicle-based technologies, telecommunications capabilities, and other strategies. Based at the University of Florida, Michael Hunter leads Georgia Tech’s work with the center.
STRIDE: Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center Georgia Tech Lead: Michael Hunter Lead University: University of Florida Focus: Reducing congestion across the Southeast with new strategies that use emerging technologies available in vehicles, telecommunications capabilities, and shared autonomy in transportation. Teaching Old Models New Tricks (TOMNET) Georgia Tech Lead: Patricia Mokhtarian Lead University: Arizona State University Focus: Incorporating key elements of human decisionmaking — our perceptions, opinions, lifestyle choices, and personality traits — in regional transportation models.
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mobility A LOT HAS BEEN WRITTEN about how millennials are different. People of this generation born roughly between 1980 and 2000 apparently don’t get driver’s licenses or drive cars like their parents and grandparents did. They live in dense urban environments. They walk, bike, ride transit, or use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to get around. And they rely on technology, social media, and mobile apps for, well, everything — to work, play, share, and communicate. Researchers have suggested that millennials have fundamentally different attitudes, values, perceptions, and preferences than prior generations, and their lifestyles will eventually transform our cities into bastions of sustainable mobility. Well, that’s unlikely to happen after all, according to new research published by a team of School of Civil and Environmental Engineering researchers specializing in transportation systems analysis. By comparing trends in activity and time-use patterns of millennials with those of Generation X, they’ve found millennials do show very different activity, travel, and time-use patterns when they are 18-24 years old. But all that changes as they age — with one exception. “Although millennials are growing up to be similar in many respects to their parents, their seemingly persistent lower levels of car use contribute to advancing sustainability goals in the transport arena,” said Patricia Mokhtarian, Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor and one of the study’s authors. “Transport planners
Will millennials transform the future of transportation? Maybe not as much as we thought
should account for such benefits when designing and assessing the performance of the transportation system.” The study, which appeared in the journal Transport Reviews, shows that millennials settle into the same patterns of their parents as they get jobs, start families, and adjust to the demands of maturity. “The findings are not all that surprising given the time constraints associated with the rhythms of life,” said Venu Garikapati, a post-doctoral research fellow and a recently married millennial himself. “As millennials age, their lives, too, are governed by work schedules, day care and school schedules, and household and personal obligations, leading to daily activity-travel and time use patterns that are quite similar to those of their predecessors — albeit with some differences that reflect the period in which they live and grow up.” “There are a few differences in activity and travel patterns that persist,” said Ram Pendyala, the School’s Frederick R. Dickerson Chair at the time of the study and now a professor at Arizona State University. He said older millennials drive less, multi-task more, and spend more time at home compared to Gen Xers at the same ages. These lingering differences likely result from the fact that millennials have often delayed key life events — getting married or having children, for example — even into their 30s. Pendyala also pointed to the effects of the global financial crisis and the influence on millennials of growing up in a period of rapid technological change.
EARLY IN THEIR LIVES, MEMBERS OF THE MILLENNIAL GENERATION USE TRANSPORTATION IN VERY DIFFERENT WAYS THAN THEIR GENERATION X COUNTERPARTS. BUT A STUDY BY GEORGIA TECH TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERS FOUND, AS MILLENNIALS AGE, THEY LARGELY RETURN TO THE SAME TRAVEL PATTERNS AS OLDER GENERATIONS.
The researchers said the lack of convergence in car use raises questions about the future direction of auto usage in the United States and millennial attitudes around automobile-oriented mobility. But since the study’s analysis reached only into 2013, co-author Eric Morris from Clemson University said more research will be needed as new data becomes available. Still: “It is the recession and delayed lifecycle milestones — not necessarily
different attitudes and lifestyle preferences — that mostly explain the lower levels of car-based mobility exhibited by millennials in early adulthood,” he said. Co-author Noreen McDonald from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has done work before showing that millennials do not travel as much as past generations. She said the new study provides critical recent and detailed evidence about trends that planners can use to better understand and address the
mobility needs of younger Americans. Pendyala and Garikapati said their findings have important implications, namely that transportation professionals shouldn’t count on less car travel in the future. However, since millennials grew up driving less during the recession, they said planners might be able to encourage that trend if they design accessible urban spaces, invest in multimodal transport options, promote healthy
living, facilitate shared infrastructure use, and develop educational and employment opportunities that cater to the aspirations of an aging millennial generation. Doing that, the authors note in the paper, means “it may be possible to bring about the fundamental shifts in behaviors and attitudes needed to avoid the proverbial inevitability of the repeat of history dominated by sprawl and auto-dependent mobility.”
READ MORE AT CE.GATECH.EDU/ANNUALREPORT
OUR FACULTY ADJO A. AMEKUDZI-KENNEDY
Associate Chair for Global Engineering Leadership and Research Development & Professor Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University MUSTAFA M. ARAL
Professor Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology CHLOÉ ARSON
Associate Professor Ph.D., École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées BAABAK ASHURI
Associate Professor Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology NELSON C. BAKER
Dean of Professional Education & Associate Professor Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University RUDOLPH BONAPARTE
Professor of the Practice Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
RAFAEL L. BRAS
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs & K. Harrison Brown Family Chair Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOE BROWN
Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
SUSAN E. BURNS
Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs & Georgia Power Distinguished Professor Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
ARIS P. GEORGAKAKOS
Professor Ph.D., Nankai University
Director, Georgia Water Resources Institute & Professor Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
YONG K. CHO
Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin JOHN CRITTENDEN
Director, Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, Hightower Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Environmental Technologies & Professor Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor SHENG DAI
Assistant Professor Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
Karen and John Huff School Chair & Professor Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Vermont HERMANN M. FRITZ
Professor Ph.D., Swiss Federal Institute of Technology J. DAVID FROST
Elizabeth and Bill Higginbotham Professor Ph.D., Purdue University
LAURIE A. GARROW
Professor Ph.D., Northwestern University
Professor Ph.D., Moscow State Mining University BARRY J. GOODNO
Professor Ph.D., Stanford University RANDALL L. GUENSLER
Professor Ph.D., University of California, Davis
KOSTAS T. KONSTANTINIDIS
Carlton S. Wilder Associate Professor Ph.D., Michigan State University JOHN H. KOON
Professor of the Practice Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley KIMBERLY E. KURTIS
College of Engineering Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Scholarship & Professor Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley JORGE A. LAVAL
Associate Professor Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley JIAN LUO
KEVIN A. HAAS
Associate Professor Ph.D., Stanford University
Professor Ph.D., Cornell University
Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor Ph.D., Northwestern University
Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Delaware
Professor Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Minnesota
MICHAEL P. HUNTER
Director, National Center for Transportation Systems Productivity and Management & Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin LAURENCE J. JACOBS
College of Engineering Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Professor Ph.D., Columbia University
PAUL W. MAYNE
PATRICIA L. MOKHTARIAN
RAFI L. MUHANNA
Associate Professor Ph.D., Higher Institute for Structure and Architecture Sofia, Bulgaria JAMES A. MULHOLLAND
Associate Chair for Graduate Programs & Professor Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology GLAUCIO H. PAULINO
Raymond Allen Jones Chair & Professor Ph.D., Cornell University
SPYROS G. PAVLOSTATHIS
Professor Ph.D., Cornell University
Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
EMERITUS F A C U LT Y G. WAYNE CLOUGH
YI-CHANG JAMES TSAI
President Emeritus Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Professor Emeritus Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Howard T. Tellepsen Chair & Regents Professor Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Professor Emeritus Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
J. CARLOS SANTAMARINA
Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Washington
PHILIP J. ROBERTS
Professor Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Professor Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
LISA G. ROSENSTEIN
Senior Academic Professional Ph.D., Emory University
ARMISTEAD G. RUSSELL
Professor Ph.D., Purdue University DAVID W. SCOTT
Associate Professor Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
LAUREN K. STEWART
Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
Associate Professor Ph.D., Columbia University
TERRY W. STURM
Professor Ph.D., University of Iowa
Associate Professor Ph.D., California Institute of Technology JOHN E. TAYLOR
Frederick Law Olmsted Professor Ph.D., Stanford University
Associate Professor Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology Associate Professor Ph.D., Stanford University
KARI E. WATKINS
DONALD R. WEBSTER
Associate Chair for Administration and Finance & Professor; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley DONALD W. WHITE
Professor Ph.D., Cornell University XING XIE
Carlton S. Wilder Assistant Professor Ph.D., Stanford University ARASH YAVARI
Professor Ph.D., California Institute of Technology SOTIRA YIACOUMI
Professor Ph.D., Syracuse University
BRUCE R. ELLINGWOOD
LAWRENCE F. KAHN
Professor Emeritus Ph.D., Brown University F. MICHAEL SAUNDERS
Professor Emeritus Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign JIM C. SPAIN
Professor Emeritus Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
KENNETH M. WILL
Associate Professor Emeritus Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
A D J U N C T F A C U LT Y DOMNIKI ASIMAKI MICHAEL BERGIN DANIEL CASTRO JON DRYSDALE MAOHONG FAN T. RUSSELL GENTRY JOSEPH HUGHES JAEHONG KIM ROBERTO LEON JOHN D. LEONARD JOHN Z. LUH GLENN RIX CATHERINE ROSS FRANK SOUTHWORTH COSTAS TSOURIS AMBARISH VAIDYANATHAN
RESEARCH ENGINEERS & SCIENTISTS DEEPAK ADHIKARI CHENGBO AI SATISH BASTOLA GIOVANNI CIRCELLA FRANKLIN GBOLOGAH ANGSHUMAN GUIN YONGTAO HU JIN YEON KIM MARTIN KISTENMACHER CHARLENE MINGUS JEFFREY NEWMAN MEHMET T. ODMAN ARKA PANDIT MICHAEL O. RODGERS WONHO SUH KYUNGSOON WANG YI-CHING WU CHUANG-SHENG WALTER YANG GUANGXUAN ZHU
Professor Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 32
GAPS National media tap Tech structural engineering, transportation expertise after I-85 bridge collapses in Atlanta
AFTER THE COLLAPSE of a portion of Interstate 85 in northeast Atlanta shut down one of the areaâ€™s major thoroughfares, media outlets from our hometown and across the country sought out engineering expertise to explain the disaster and put it in context. The result was more than 3,000 stories that included half a dozen School of Civil and Environmental Engineering structural and transportation engineers.
Professor KIMBERLY KURTIS told the ATLANTA JOURNALCONSTITUTION in the hours after the collapse that she wasn’t familiar with the specific bridge, but “if this were a reinforced concrete structure, the fire would have had to burn long and hot to impact the steel [within]. “Once the temperature gets about one-third to half the temperature of the melting point of steel, that’s when you start to see more significant decreases” in stability, Kurtis said. The structure can no longer support the load it was designed for at that point, she told WSB-TV. Meanwhile, concrete will start to crack. "Concrete is hydrated. It has water in its structure, so it's literally boiling. It's trapped within the concrete, and the only way to escape is to create cracks," Kurtis said.
What’s more, the damage could extend beyond solely the collapsed section, said REGINALD DESROCHES, Karen and John Huff School Chair. “The surrounding sections of the highway will be evaluated to determine if any damage was sustained from the heat,” DesRoches told CNN. “It is probably prudent to check both sides of the adjacent sections — northbound and southbound.”
TOP PHOTO: KIMBERLY KURTIS; BOTTOM PHOTOS: GARY MEEK
DesRoches’ prediction played out in the subsequent days. Contractors end up tearing down 350 feet of adjacent southbound lanes and rebuilding them along with the collapsed portion.
LAUREN STEWART, in conversations with the ASSOCIATED PRESS, Atlanta TV stations WSB and WXIA, and the NEW YORK TIMES, said the evaluation and repair process would likely stretch into months. “You’ll have coordination on investigations about the cause of the fire on the federal and state agency side, and then you’ll also have coordination with engineers to determine the level and extent of the damage,” Stewart told the AP. “Then, if they have to clean up the area and deconstruct some of the bridge, that will happen. Then they will start the rebuild.”
In the meantime, Atlanta’s notoriously bad traffic would likely get worse, according to MICHAEL HUNTER, who studies travel behavior and transportation engineering. “[I-85 is] one of the critical corridors in Atlanta, and really in Georgia,” he told THE NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY. So all of the traffic normally traveling the highway would clog the alternate routes, some of which already became jammed the night of the collapse. “This is going to be significant and cause a ripple effect,” he said. “You’re going to see congestion all over Atlanta where it isn’t, normally.”
RANDALL GUENSLER told the AJC’s Bill Torpy he was optimistic the city’s roads ultimately would be able to absorb all the people searching for alternate ways to get around. “I think it’ll just be a little less convenient,” he said. And there could be a silver lining, according to KARI WATKINS, who told energy and environment news website E&E NEWS the jolt to commuters’ daily routines could be an opportunity to get them using the city’s transit system — and shift their behavior more permanently. “This is Atlanta’s chance to show that it can be more than a car-dominated city,” she told the LOS ANGELES TIMES. “The question is whether there will be permanent change, or if we will just adapt for the moment and then switch back to old habits.”
P H O T O : R O B F E LT
MAKING F A C U LT Y
Female undergraduates voted JOE BROWN the best engineering teacher at Georgia Tech. SUSAN BURNS received the Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award as one of Georgia Tech’s most effective teachers.
The Provost’s office also selected BURNS for the new faculty Emerging Leaders Program at Tech. The National Academy of Construction selected G. WAYNE CLOUGH for its 2016 membership class. The Association of Haitian and American Engineers honored REGINALD DESROCHES with its Professional Achievement in Academia Award for his disaster recovery work and service to the community. DESROCHES also delivered the College of
Engineering fall 2016 distinguished lecture at the University of California, Davis. The Georgia Tech provost’s office selected KEVIN HAAS to help strengthen faculty teaching and student learning as a Provost Teaching and Learning Fellow. The Croatian Geotechnical Society invited PAUL MAYNE to deliver the 14th Nonveiller Lecture, the country’s signature geotechnical engineering lecture. 37
GLAUCIO PAULINO became a fellow of
the Engineering Mechanics Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. MICHAEL RODGERS and former Ph.D. student MARY KATHERINE WATSON won the American Society of Engineering Education Thomas C. Evans Instructional Paper Award for their work on concept maps.
Civil + Structural Engineer magazine named LAUREN STEWART one of its 2017 rising stars. TERRY STURM became a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The National Academy of Engineering invited IRIS TIEN to join the nation’s brightest young engineers at the 2017 Frontiers of Engineering symposium. TIEN also won the 2016 Paul A. Duke GIFT Action Plan Achievement Award from Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing for helping bring engineering concepts to middle school science lessons.
The U.S. Air Force Research Lab selected YANG WANG for its 2017 summer faculty fellowship program. DONALD WEBSTER joined leading engineering educators at the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium in 2016.
P H O T O : R O B F E LT
Water Resources Research gave RAFAEL BRAS its Editor’s Choice Award for his study advancing the modeling of river watershed evolution in semi-arid areas.
HEADLINES STUDENTS STEPHANIE AMOANING-YANKSON, CINDY BLEDSOE, BRITTANY TYSON and XIAODAN XU won scholarships from the Women’s
Transportation Seminar Atlanta chapter, sweeping the 2016 awards. AMOANING-YANKSON also won the Fran
O’Sullivan Women in Lenovo Leadership Scholarship from the Society of Women Engineers and attended the 2017 Future Leaders Development Conference as an Eno Center for Transportation Fellow. JAVAID ANWAR won the poster
competition at the 2017 Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering conference. The American Society of Civil Engineers Geo-Institute selected FIKRET ATALAY to represent the United States at the International Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference. ARJUN BIR won the 2017 Buchberg
Scholarship from engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. BIR also won the 2017 Alvin M. Ferst
Leadership and Entrepreneur Award from Georgia Tech. The Achievement Rewards for College Scientists program gave a School record five awards in 2016 to JOSEPHINE BATES, OSVALDO BROESICKE, CALVIN CLARK, ANNA SKIPPER and XENIA WIRTH.
BROESICKE also won the Padrino Scholarship from the organization MAES – Latinos in Science and Engineering, the group’s highest honor. JACK CEBE, CALVIN CLARK, APRIL GADSBY, ALICE GROSSMAN, JANILLE SMITH-COLIN and ELLIOT SPERLING won
Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships for 2016-2017 from the Federal Highway Administration. GADSBY also won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, along with HANNAH GREENWALD and REBECCA NYLEN. GROSSMAN also won the 2017 Thomas
J. O’Bryant Transportation Policy and Finance Fellowship from the Eno Center for Transportation. HENG CHI became the first Georgia
Tech student to win the 2017 Robert J. Melosh Medal in computational mechanics from Duke University. NASA awarded an Earth and Space Science Fellowship to COURTNEY DI VITTORIO to support her work using satellites to improve water management. The Water Environment Federation selected CHRISTINE DYKSTRA for the 2016 Canham Graduate Studies Scholarship.
The International Research Association on Large Landslides invited SANGY HANUMASAGAR to the organization’s 10-day international landslide school for 2016. Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering named CESUNICA IVEY’S paper on sourcing and counting pollution from atmospheric reactions one of the best of 2016. LIN HTET KYAW won a Simpson Strong-Tie Scholarship for structural engineering students. SUJITH MANGALATHU won the 2017 Nevada Medal for his bridge engineering research.
Organizers of the Communicating Science Conference at Harvard University invited 50 graduate students to the 2017 meeting, including LAURA MAST. The International Concrete Repair Institute Georgia chapter awarded one of its two scholarships to ALESA STALLMAN. The Sigma Xi research society gave DESPINA TSEMENTZI the Best Ph.D.
Dissertation award for her widely published work in environmental microbiology. WINNIE ZAMBRANA won an Outstanding
Undergraduate Research award at the 2017 Georgia Tech Undergraduate Research Symposium.
TECH MEETS TIANJIN Tech’s new China outpost will offer environmental engineering master’s STUDENTS IN CHINA soon will be able to earn a Georgia Tech master’s degree in environmental engineering almost entirely in their home country. The School of Civil and Environmental Engineering has joined a handful of other Georgia Tech programs, China’s Tianjin University, and the city of Shenzhen to create a new campus offering engineering, computer science and design degrees. Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson officially signed an agreement creating the Georgia Tech Tianjin University Shenzhen Institute in December 2016. Georgia Tech will lead graduate programs at the new campus while Tianjin University coordinates undergraduate education. “It’s a great opportunity for us,” said Jim Mulholland, the School’s associate chair for graduate programs. “Over the past five years, growth in our M.S. program has been fueled by international students. So, this is definitely a way to address that demand. And I think it’s a benefit to the students, because it will be less expensive for them.” Students will be able to experience both campuses: “Atlanta students may choose to spend a semester there, and Shenzhen students will spend a semester here,” he said. “There there will be opportunities for faculty and students involved in the academic program to collaborate with a research institute that is being developed.” Environmental engineering students at the Shenzhen Institute will study for two semesters in China, then finish their degree with a third semester of study on Tech’s main campus in Atlanta. The first students will enroll for fall 2019. The Shenzhen government provided land, startup funding and operational subsidies for the new institute. For the environmental engineering master’s program, Mulholland said a professor of the practice will work in Shenzhen and teach core graduate courses.
Environmental engineering was one of the key areas Georgia Tech’s China partners identified for the new campus based on student interests. Georgia Tech also will offer master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering, computer science, industrial design, and analytics. “This historical agreement is in alignment with Georgia Tech’s focus on internationalization, as outlined in our 25-year Strategic Plan,” Peterson said at the signing ceremony in Shenzhen. “It will serve as a great vehicle to engage our strong alumni base in China and increase Georgia Tech’s global reputation as a leading technological research institution.” The School’s graduate programs manager, Robert Simon, said the new institute also will solidify the School’s ties to China. “One of the things that’s very exciting for CEE is it expands on our already existing partnerships,” he said. “A few years ago, we signed the 3+2 agreement with Tongji University, so this just seems like a natural next step to cement our partnerships with the People’s Republic of China.” –Lance Wallace contributed to this report. 39
“Over the past five years, growth in our M.S. program has been fueled by international students. So, this is definitely a way to address that demand. And I think it’s a benefit to the students, because it will be less expensive for them.” MORE ABOUT GEORGIA TECH-SHENZEN AT SHENZHEN.GATECH.EDU
P H O T O : R O B F E LT
“We’ll have faculty here who will travel to China and teach courses,” he said. “We very well might offer some of our classes here by video and, for that matter, some of the classes we deliver in China might be offered in Atlanta by video.”
DIVE ON IN Georgia Tech launches Ph.D. in ocean science and engineering GEORGIA TECH now offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Ocean Science and Engineering. The new program aims to train ocean scientists and engineers by combining basic and applied sciences with innovative ocean technologies. Students in the program will participate in interdisciplinary research at the frontiers of the physical, biological, chemical, and human dimensions of ocean systems. A partnership of the College of Engineering and the College of Sciences, the program involves faculty from the Schools of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Biological Sciences. “The greatest challenges in research result from the growing complexity, interconnectedness, and linkages of phenomena, which cannot be addressed within traditional disciplinary boundaries. This applies especially to the ocean — the largest environmental resource on Earth,” said Annalisa Bracco, the program’s co-director and a professor in EAS. “Chemical, biological, and physical processes in the ocean cannot be viewed in isolation.” What’s needed, she said, is an integrated approach to interpreting scientific data and developing effective solutions to immediate problems, such as loss of coral reefs, and their long-term consequences. School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor Kevin Haas said the program brings together for the first time the large number of researchers focused on ocean studies but scattered across Georgia Tech academic units. “We will be able to take a more holistic approach through collaborations between scientists and engineers to address issues such as ecological impacts of global climate change and develop engineering solutions to adapt to or mitigate these impacts,” he said.
MORE ABOUT THE OCEAN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PH.D. AT OCEAN.GATECH.EDU
“The greatest challenges in research result from the growing complexity, interconnectedness, and linkages of phenomena, which cannot be addressed within traditional disciplinary boundaries. This applies especially to the ocean — the largest environmental resource on Earth.” Graduate programs in ocean sciences and engineering are not new; however, Georgia Tech’s approach is unique in combining basic and applied research in one degree offering.
“Our goal is to develop a pipeline of in-demand ocean experts for industry, government, and academia,” said program director and EAS Professor Emanuele Di Lorenzo. –Maureen Rouhi 40
Immersing themselves in a new culture. International research opportunities. Internships and work experience. Whatever it is that our students are looking for when they study abroad, the Joe S. Mundy Global Learning Endowment can help them find it. This dedicated $4 million fund helps undergraduates (and sometimes graduate students, too) pay to live, work or study in a different culture so they come back with a new global perspective on engineering, the arts, and geo-politics.
MORNING ON GOKYO RI IN NEPAL. AT THE URGING OF THEIR GUIDE, MAGGIE LINDSEY AND HIKING PARTNER HANNAH LARSON BEGAN SUMMITING AT 5 A.M. TO SEE THIS VIEW BEFORE THE CLOUDS LIFTED OVER THE MOUNTAINS. IN THE DISTANCE ON THE LEFT IS MOUNT EVEREST. LINDSEY TREKKED TO EVEREST BASE CAMP AFTER SHE SPENT THE SPRING AS AN INTERN IN KATHMANDU.
RCH PHOTO: UZOL RAI
PHOTO: UZOL RAI
JOE S. MUNDY GLOBAL LEARNING ENDOWMENT
Trek up Mount Everest reminds Lindsey to ‘just keep walking’ Civil engineering undergraduate Maggie Lindsey spent the spring 2017 semester living in Kathmandu, Nepal, interning with Miyamoto International — her practicum for the global engineering leadership minor. The earthquake structural engineering firm opened a Nepal office in 2015 after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated the country. Lindsey’s work included helping Miyamoto’s nonprofit arm on a project to restore the earthquake-damaged Gaddi Baithak, a 100-year old neoclassical palace and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lindsey said she wants to work as an earthquake engineer in developing countries, so her experiences in Nepal were incredibly rewarding. “I had the opportunity to work on very unique projects, visit many sites damaged by earthquakes, gain knowledge on how to design for seismic resiliency, and learn about the post-disaster response of Nepal.” “This was an amazing opportunity.”
PHOTO: BINOD SHRESTHA
Lindsey also took advantage of her time in Nepal to make a once-in-a-lifetime hike to Mount Everest Base Camp. That’s where we pick up her story.
Instead of doing the typical route to Mount Everest Base Camp — which was very crowded since it was peak trekking season — our route was more challenging, but so much more rewarding. It takes you through many remote villages and offers amazing views that you can’t experience on the traditional route. You cross three passes, each more than 5,000 meters (16,400 feet), that connect the four major valleys of the Khumbu (Everest) region. This gave me a chance to see what everyday life looks like in the mountainous villages following the 2015 earthquake and to see how they are recovering from such a tragic event. There are no roads or cars in the Khumbu region, which really complicates and restricts the rebuilding process. There is very little building equipment; most building materials have to be locally made out of clay and stones or transported up the mountains by Sherpa people and porters. The speed of construction is often slowed by extreme weather. On some days, the weather was pleasant: the sun was shining, and we were full of energy and ready to take on whatever challenge lay in front of us. On other
days, we were hiking straight uphill in the middle of a snowstorm and were struggling to catch our breath at such a high altitude. It seems simple, but one of the most important lessons I learned during my time in Nepal was to keep walking until you reach your destination and are where you are meant to be. It was so important for me to keep the bigger picture and my ultimate goal in mind and just keep walking — focusing on that current step only — until I made it to the next destination. I think this lesson will translate directly to anything I take on in life and is crucial to any leadership role I may take on. LESSONS LEARNED 1. There is no single, best method to design, restore, or reconstruct a building. For the Gaddi Baithak, Miyamoto needed to really understand what happened during the earthquake and why the building failed before we could propose a solution. If you try to jump ahead and begin the design process without fully understanding the scenario, the design may fail to address all the issues. 2. When working in a foreign location, it is so important to take the culture, societal structure, and development level into consideration. As the only non-native on the team, I had to remember to communicate well and be aware of cultural differences. I also learned to be very vulnerable — I needed to ask a lot of questions in order to figure out how to best interact with the team and communicate across cultures. 3. Effective communication is just as important as effective engineering. Miyamoto is leading the way in Nepal to communicate why it is important to build resilient buildings and to restore existing buildings so they are strong enough to withstand another earthquake. Advocating for their mission demands as much effort and is as critical to the success of the company as their technical abilities. 4. It is so important to remember to perform to a high ethical standard, even when working in a developing country that doesn’t enforce many standards and where corruption is a very common practice.
LEFT: BETWEEN CLIMBING 1,000 METERS FROM LUNGDEN AND DESCENDING 300 METERS TO GOKYO, MAGGIE LINDSEY STANDS JUST BELOW THE PEAK OF RENJO LA PASS. RIGHT: LINDSEY CONDUCTS A SITE VISIT AT GADDI BAITHAK, A 100-YEAR-OLD PALACE MIYAMOTO INTERNATIONAL IS RESTORING.
JOE S. MUNDY GLOBAL LEARNING ENDOWMENT
Rethinking career and competition: Australia makes an impression on Melissas Civil engineering undergraduate Andrew Melissas spent his a semester studying at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He calls that time “the best four months of my life.” The semester included trips throughout the region to Fiji, New Zealand, the Great Barrier Reef, and other places. It also changed Melissas’ plans for his career.
I decided to study abroad in the hopes that I could share my Greek culture and, in turn, learn more about the culture of Australia and the Aboriginal culture. No sooner had I arrived in Sydney than an opportunity to experience the latter presented itself. At the official welcome ceremony for international students at the University of New South Wales, a group of Aborigines of the Cadigal tribe performed a traditional welcome dance. Immediately afterward, the dancers asked for volunteers to come onstage and join them to learn a dance that honored the native birds of the region. Of course, I volunteered. One of the customs that made an impression on me was how every public speaker opened his or her speech by recognizing the ancestors upon whose land we had gathered in a statement known as the Acknowledgement of Country: “I would like to acknowledge the Cadigal people who are the traditional custodians of this land. I would also like to pay respect to the elders, past and present, of the Cadigal nation and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people present.” I appreciated what was being done — that the Aborigines were being recognized as the traditional owners of the land. However, it did not feel like enough to undo centuries of mistreatment. To be fair, most Australian students I spoke to agreed that the Aborigines had been treated unfairly. It makes me wonder if Americans could or should do a similar Acknowledgement of Country to pay respects to the American Indians of our country. While we were both once colonies of the British Empire, there are several marked distinctions between American and Australian culture, which I found fascinating. Keep in WATCH ANDREW MELISSAS PARTICIPATE IN AN ABORIGINAL DANCE HONORING NATIVE BIRDS AT CE.GATECH.EDU/ANNUALREPORT 45
mind that many Australians are fascinated with America; it is our television shows that are broadcast into their homes and our movies that they pay to go see in the theaters and our music that plays over the radio. Still, the two major differences in the societies were the Tall Poppy Syndrome and the Underdog Mentality, the study abroad department at UNSW informed me. In stark contrast to rugged American individualism and selfreliance, the Tall Poppy Syndrome exists in Australian culture. Similar to how a plant will be trimmed down if it outgrows its neighbors, it is frowned upon in Australian culture if one’s achievements elevate him or her above their peers. As a result, in my living community I witnessed an absence of the elitism that is present in many American schools. The athletes, the musicians, the artists, the scholastically focused, and the partiers all flowed seamlessly from one group to another. In short, everyone talked to and tolerated everyone else. There was not one single group of “cool kids” who considered themselves better than everyone else. The harmonious trend applied to academics as well. Whereas, in America, there is a competition to earn the best grades or the best internship or the best research paper, Australians did not seem the least bit interested in competing with one another about grades or any other matter. On the rugby pitch, even after a hard fought match, both sides would make their way to the nearest pub to enjoy the local taps together. No phrase best sums up this attitude than the iconic, “No worries, mate.” With the Underdog Mentality, there was no swaggering confidence that other cultures attribute to Americans. In place of bravado, there was a willingness to give one’s best, no matter the outcome. It came as a surprise to me, then, that I found I preferred the company of Australians to Americans, even though I am one of the most competitive and confident people I know. Nonetheless, not a day goes by that I do not wish I was back there. The Mundy Endowment has changed my future goals such that, upon graduation, I plan work in Australia for a few years as a civil engineer. I loved my experience so much that I cannot imagine not going back. CIVIL ENGINEERING UNDERGRAD ANDREW MELISSAS DIVING AT THE GREAT BARRIER REEF DURING HIS SEMESTER STUDYING ABROAD IN AUSTRALIA.
PHOTOS: ANDREW MELISSAS
PHOTO: KELSEY EICHBAUER
JOE S. MUNDY GLOBAL LEARNING ENDOWMENT
In Nicaragua, Eichbauer learns simple sometimes works best Environmental engineering undergraduate Kelsey Eichbauer spent most of her 2016 summer helping design and build systems to treat and recycle greywater for the community in Bluefields, Nicaragua. This is the wastewater from baths, sinks, kitchen appliances, laundry — essentially anywhere but the toilet. The work was part of the Global Leadership Program with blueEnergy, a nonprofit dedicated to providing energy, clean water, and sanitation in coastal Caribbean areas.
PHOTO: ROBERT AINLEY
Eichbauer said her experiences — working for the community but also learning about its culture, food and customs — made her realize she might want to spend part of her career living and working in another country.
In Nicaragua, and Bluefields specifically, many people do not have access to sufficient amounts of water for drinking, washing, irrigation, etc., especially during the dry season, from December to April. Bluefields also does not have water treatment systems, so greywater flows directly into the ground or to surrounding rivers and the Bluefields Bay. The objective of this project was to explore various greywater treatment methods and to design two systems to implement for houses on the blueEnergy campus. Originally, both systems were to be constructed and evaluated based on efficiency, cost, use, and maintenance within the eight weeks I spent there; however, the project did not progress as quickly as planned. By the end of the eight weeks, only one system was constructed, but long-term staff of blueEnergy will continue this project. The completed systems will be used as pilots for 60 systems blueEnergy planned to build in local households. My experience abroad taught me lessons that will guide me in my future career, and it has challenged me personally, as well. First, this experience further established lessons I learned over my Spring Break spent in La Paz, Bolivia with Dr. Joe Brown’s Environmental Technology in the Developing World class. I realized how much the United States as a country has to learn from other
cultures and lifestyles, especially when it comes to sustainability. I also learned that flexibility is key. This is an important lesson for any area of life, but especially overseas work. Working with unfamiliar cultures can be difficult, problems turn out to be more complex than originally thought, and tasks take longer than planned. Environmental and development challenges are complicated and do not have simple, quick solutions, so those hoping to work in these areas must be flexible. One of my goals for the summer was to learn how to apply cultural context to environmental and engineering solutions. I realized that living in and becoming integrated with the culture is essential to one’s ability to make a significant contribution to a country’s development, as this cultural aspect is often more important than the technology being implemented. I was surprised by the simplicity of the technology being used by blueEnergy, such as sand and gravel for filtering water. However, when these simple technologies are tailored to the culture they are being implemented in, it can have a huge impact. I also learned that language barriers are not really barriers at all. One of my key goals for this summer was to develop conversational proficiency in Spanish. Though I took Spanish classes in high school, over the years I had forgotten a lot of what I learned. When I arrived in Nicaragua, my previous knowledge quickly came back. However, I found it very difficult to converse, as local people speak quickly and with an accent. As frustrating as this was, I realized that there is so much more to connecting with other people than verbal communication. A smile, or an attempt to speak the language goes a long way. Over the summer, I realized that my ability to make a difference through my professional career starts with changes in my personal life. I do not think I can work towards a more sustainable world without first looking at the sustainability of my own lifestyle, such as my consumption of water and other resources or the amount of waste I am producing.
KELSEY EICHBAUER TAKES MEASUREMENTS AT THE SITE OF ONE OF THE WATER-TREATMENT SYSTEMS SHE HELPED DESIGN IN NICARAGUA WITH THE NONPROFIT BLUEENERGY. SHE HAD PLANNED TO HELP IMPLEMENT TWO SUCH SYSTEMS, BUT RAIN DELAYED CONSTRUCTION.
Global Engineering Leadership Minor Engineering students across Georgia Tech can supplement their technical studies with a series of courses that incorporate elements of leadership and global perspectives in the context of engineering. Developed by and housed within the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, this Global Engineering Leadership Minor develops graduates with problem-solving, leadership and interpersonal skills as well as crosscultural competence. Among the key components of this program are courses that incorporate faculty-led study or research abroad. Over the last year, these courses have traveled to Bolivia, London, the Netherlands, and China and Japan:
PHOTO: DONALD SMITH
TOP: RACHEL BRASHEAR
BOLIVIA ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
✓ Design prototype water quality test Collect water samples and user data at 80 sites Process samples in Catholic University of Bolivia lab Visit San Pedro community and its homegrown water treatment plant Discover E. coli contamination problem in water system Pilot data-collection approach for the 200 Cities Project Yoga class together once back in Atlanta Rethink how I can use my engineering skills to impact the world
“Before this trip, I had a very clear direction of where I wanted to go. I wanted to graduate, I wanted to get a job, work on getting my [professional engineer] license, and so on and so forth. Now, I think my future’s a lot more unknown. … I’m still in the process of reflecting on this trip and knowing where to go from there, but just knowing that I want to have a service attitude as I get my degree — like our CEE catchphrase, ‘people are our priority and the world is our laboratory,’ [I want to figure] out how that is true.” – RILEY POYNTER, JUNIOR
LONDON INTRODUCTION TO STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING C O N S T R U CT I O N E N G I N E E R I N G A N D M A N A G E M E NT HISTORIC STRUCTURES
✓ Inspect the London Eye and learn about load paths Wave to the Queen at Buckingham Palace Tour the Tower Bridge (take a minute to lay on the glass floor) Study Brunel’s bridges and tunnels on a Thames boat tour Load paths part 2: Emirates Stadium Hop the Hogwarts Express to the Harry Potter Studio Cheer on USA rugby Load paths part 3: Stonehenge “Being able to see it immediately, I automatically can attach what I learned in class to a monument. So, learning about tie rods and going to the London Eye and seeing six tie rods right there — it’s like, OK I got this. I understand this now.” – CHRISTINA ZEIGLER, JUNIOR
PHOTO: LAUREN STEWART
NETHERLANDS SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION ABROAD
✓ Bike 15-20 miles per day, exploring the Dutch approach to bike-first transportation Catalog Dutch bicycle infrastructure (measure bike lanes with our feet) Visit The Hague, Utrecht, Delft, Amsterdam
“Before this trip and class, I never took cycling seriously. I thought it was simply a form of recreation. This trip to the Netherlands opened my eyes to the effectiveness of all modes of transportation. Adding more asphalt to the ground won’t alleviate congestion, but providing alternative modes of travel would help. I learned that ‘Build it and they will come’ is not only true in The Field of Dreams, but for cycling as well.” – SPENCER MADDOX, SOPHOMORE
Geek out about roundabouts (turbo and otherwise) Tour Amsterdam’s world-famous transit system — trains, trams and buses, oh my! Learn from The Hague city leaders in outdoor classroom Travel with and learn from Atlanta Beltline and Charleston transportation officials
CHINA+JAPAN I N T E R N AT I O N A L D I S A S T E R R E C O N N A I S S A N C E S T U D I E S
✓ Climb Great Wall of China Explore the Forbidden City Visit earthquake-ravaged Old Beichuan See ancient flood-control system in Sichuan Province Visit giant panda sanctuary Tour tsunami-devastated Sendai Climb Mt. Fuji for sunrise “It was all the things they say about going to college and experiencing something different and new. It was all of that, shotgunned at you. It was international travel, it was meeting new people, it was problem-solving. It was arts, language, history, culture … engineering, science, math.” – MASTER’S STUDENT KIERON MCCARTHY
PHOTOS: RAMIRO SANTANA
Saved you a
DONORS DINE WITH STUDENTS EMPOWERED BY THEIR GENEROSITY STUDENTS AND FORMER STUDENTS came together for lunch in March 2017 at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. And though most had never met each other, they share a permanent and life-altering link. The gathering brought together scholarship and fellowship recipients with the donors who are helping pay for their education. It was the first time the School arranged a group meeting like this, and in some cases, it was an emotional experience. “It’s really special,” said Linda Farrell, who had tears in her eyes as she talked about her brother, the namesake of the Bruce Wittschiebe Memorial Scholarship. “Bruce, he was such a people person. He would walk in a room, and by the end of the evening, he would know everybody and everybody would be having a good time. So that part of him, his focus on people, and the strength of Tech being its students and professors, was very important to him. And now Lauren is carrying on with that.”
“Being out of state, it’s very expensive to come here, but I knew I really wanted to come here. I knew Georgia Tech was going to give me the essential tools that I needed to be a good engineer. So this scholarship has helped me not have to take out so many loans and be a little bit more free with being able to be involved in the Georgia Tech community. I hope one day that I can give back in the same way that this scholarship has given back to me.” –Lauren Gardner, civil engineering senior
“Bruce … was really involved at Georgia Tech. He was the Reck driver, he was part of Reck Club, he was in a fraternity. So he was really involved at Georgia Tech as well as being involved with his school, civil engineering. I was looking for something to give back in his name, and this was perfect. He would’ve loved this.” –Janice Martin Wittschiebe, the widow of Bruce Wittschiebe
“I don’t think I would have come to Tech if I hadn’t received this scholarship because it was just, truthfully, financially unbearable. So making it possible for me to go to Tech and making it possible for me to experience the incredible civil engineering faculty and learn from them — that’s propelling my career. … I’m so excited about all of the opportunities that are coming my way, and I owe it all to Tech, which I owe to the James Maughon Scholarship.” –Zoe Turner-Yovanovitch, civil engineering senior
PHOTOS: MARIAH AUSTIN
“My father grew up near the campus, and he sold Cokes [and] popcorn during football games. … When I went to Tech, he told me he’d always wanted to do something for Tech, and since I was going to Tech, that he wanted me to do something for Tech. That was the seed that was planted many years ago.” –James Maughon, BCE 1969
“We didn’t want to save a lot of money and then, at the end of life, give it away and not be a part of that. So, we have started to give it away immediately. One of the first things we did was establish this endowment, and I just have had a lot of fun being a part of a couple of these students’ [lives] who have gotten the scholarship. They’ve been amazing people.” –Jimmy Mitchell, BSCE 2005
“The scholarship allowed me to come to my dream school without any of the worries that a lot of my peers had. … It’s nice seeing [the Mitchells] at events like this and just seeing how involved they are. It motivates me to be the best person I can be because [they’ve invested in me.]” –Maya Goldman, BSCE 2016 and first-year master’s student
“It’s meaningful to see that money going to really great use right away. It helps you feel more connected to the school. And even though I’m not in civil engineering — I was textiles — it gets me very excited about the things Maya is doing and will be doing.” –Angela Mitchell, BSMSE 2004
CORPORATE AFFILIATES PROGRAM C AP S A S U C C ES S F U L F IR S T YEA R
Corporate Affiliate partners get a direct line into the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and help developing an engagement plan. They also receive: √√ VIP placement in CEE’s Annual Career Expo √√ Access to interview rooms in the Mason Building √√ VIP marketing support to CEE students √√ VIP posting of jobs and internships √√ A Day in the Mason Building Lobby √√ A session in one of the School’s seminar series √√ Invitation to a special evening of Senior Design project presentations √√ Opportunity to pair company employees with CEE students for mentoring and career guidance √√ Invitation to networking events with CEE alumni, faculty members and students 57
P H O T O : R O B F E LT
GET INVOLVED: CE.GATECH.EDU/CAP
“For corporations, we can provide access to the best and brightest young civil and environmental engineers in the region. They get face time with these students. ... For our students, they get direct access to people looking for interns or employees and a window into working life.” – M A RI A H AUS T IN, CO RP O RAT E REL AT IO NS M A N AGER
FOR ADAM GERSH, the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Corporate Affiliates Program has been about efficiency. As a university relations manager for design and engineering firm ARCADIS, he said the program streamlined and maximized his recruiting efforts. For Jimmy Mitchell, being a corporate affiliate of the School has been about relationships. He said the program means he can interact with students and really assess whether they’re a good fit for his company, Skanska. ARCADIS and Skanska were just two of the 18 members of the School’s Corporate Affiliates Program in its first year, and they’re excited about the connections they’ve forged as result. The affiliates program — or CAP, as it has become known — is an effort designed to more closely link the School and its students with industry partners. That means it’s a great recruiting tool for companies, and it’s great exposure for students, according to the program’s manager, Mariah Austin.
“We designed CAP to meet both needs,” she said. “For corporations, we can provide access to the best and brightest young civil and environmental engineers in the region. They get face time with these students, and they get opportunities — through our seminar series or spending a day in our lobby — to really explain what their corporate values are and why students will excel with them. For our students, they get direct access to people looking for interns or employees and a window into working life.” Mitchell said he found a summer intern for Skanska’s Atlanta office, and he connected students to opportunities in the firm around the nation. Recruiting at Georgia Tech has been a focus for the company, he said. “Reading through a resume feels so subjective, especially since, at Georgia Tech, all the students are high-potential,” said Mitchell, the Atlanta-area business development manager for the construction firm. “To me, a great value is meeting these
students and getting to better understand their professional qualities for our company’s specific opportunities.” Gersh, who is responsible for recruiting newly minted engineers for ARCADIS, said involvement in CAP has made the process much more effective. “It’s a much more targeted effort,” he said. “It really allows us to more strategically position ourselves on campus versus just doing a splatter approach, going to a couple of events and hoping we find the right candidates. The CAP program really provides us with that opportunity to target the students we are really looking for.” Gersh said he hired eight new employees and 11 interns during the last year — all students he met through the School’s career fair and other networking events he had access to as a corporate affiliates member. “The investment is significant. But the return on investment has been excellent,” he said.
I N A U G U R A L PA RT N E R S
Emmy Montanye SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT KI M LEY- H O R N AND ASSO C I AT E S
Relationships, curiosity, business skills are key to a fulfilling engineering career
EMMY MONTANYE brought practical advice by the bucket-load to the fall Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Leadership Speaker Series. Montanye has worked on almost every major project reshaping Atlanta in recent years: Mercedes-Benz Stadium and SunTrust Park, Piedmont Park’s expansion and the Center for Civil and Human Rights, NCR’s headquarters in Midtown and the nearby Coda project expanding Tech Square. She used lessons from those projects and others to offer students a guide to turning their engineering education into a fruitful career, sharing what she called five “buckets” of skills she’s picked up through her career, each paired with a practical example. Ultimately, they all came down to one thing: relationships. “I can guarantee you that no one is this room will be successful as a one-person act,” Montanye told a full house at the lunchtime event. “Nobody in this room is going to be a leader if they have no one to lead.”
Montanye earned her bachelor’s in civil engineering in 1982. She’s a senior vice president at Kimley-Horn and Associates, where she said she now has the opportunity to focus increasingly on developing young engineers and helping them discover their leadership abilities. That was, in fact, her fifth bucket: Develop others. One way she’s been doing that is through Kimley-Horn’s Lasting Impact for Tomorrow, or LIFT, initiative. Montanye said the program emerged after the company’s leaders found out they were losing lots of mid-career women. They tracked down why — digging into data like all good engineers. “We needed to provide more tools and a nimble environment for our women — primarily our women with young children — to integrate their families and motherhood with their careers so that they could flourish,” she said. That meant networking events, familyfocused tools, and coaching for women in the firm.
The other four buckets of skills Montanye talked about: BE CURIOUS AND KEEP LEARNING “As engineers, we sell knowledge,” Montanye said. “We add more value when we can sell current knowledge and we can sell that knowledge with confidence.” And, she said: “One of most important ways to learn is to develop relationships with people with different cultures, different backgrounds, different educations, different experiences, and learn from those people.” DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BRAND Montanye suggested that kind of intentional effort helps build a personal brand, too, telling students to always be thinking about the impression they’re making on people — to be confident and deliberate in how they introduce themselves, how they answer the phone, even how they walk into their workplace everyday. “This is not easy,” Montanye said. “If you walk into your office everyday,
E M MY M O NTA NY E , B C E 1 9 8 2
P H OTO : K I M L E Y- H O R N A N D A S S O C I AT E S
and you walk down the hall and do not interact with colleagues, you go to your cubicle or office and put in your headphones, and you eat your lunch there, and at the end of the day, you walk back down the hall and you don’t interact with your colleagues, you will become invisible. “If you are invisible, you’re not going to be developing your career. And if you’re invisible, you’re most likely not providing leadership.” LEARN THE BUSINESS OF ENGINEERING Another way to boost your brand, Montanye said, is to be good at business as well as good at engineering. “It will influence your brand, but I can guarantee you, if you’re a good engineer, it’s a whole lot more fun if you can figure out how to make money doing it.” That starts with relationships, she said, “getting people to trust you and believe in you.” It also means not committing to work that you can’t do — “We always say, don’t hire an electrician to do your
plumbing job” — and delivering the work you said you would. Montanye said the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium in Cobb County was a perfect example of building good relationships and doing good business, though not necessarily in that order. Kimley-Horn started with a $37,000 confidential due-diligence study for the Braves about the proposed site of their new ballpark. The firm had no experience with the team before that first study, Montanye said. But they did good work, built the relationship, and the initial study has turned into millions of dollars of engineering work, from environmental consulting to transportation improvements and land development. The project also teaches another valuable lesson, she said: “Listen carefully. Big opportunities can knock softly.”
DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS Montanye said having a small group of trusted advisers can help engineers recognize some of these big opportunities and avoid some landmines as they navigate their careers. Montanye said the group might be small initially, but it should grow. “When you’re a young engineer, there might only be three people around your table: yourself, a colleague and a supervisor,” she said. “But 15 years into your career, it might be more. It should probably include a client or two, maybe some local politicians. It might include regional leadership or firm-wide leadership, if you’re at a national firm. “[These are] people who will travel with you throughout your career and help you and be there for you.” W AT C H T H E L E C T U R E CE.GATECH.EDU/HYATT
Suzanne hank S
CHAIRMAN, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER S I E B E RT C I S N E R O S S H A N K & C O.
SPRING HYAT T SPEAKER
Leadership is about connection, not isolation
SUZANNE SHANK still keeps two textbooks on her bookshelf from her days as a civil engineering undergrad at Georgia Tech. From her classes on differential equations and mechanics of deformable bodies, those two books remind her of a key lesson she learned in those days: “I was much stronger when I reached out and relied on the support of my peers. I realized I could only go so far on my own.” Shank said those two books “remind me about the people who helped me understand. And if I could get my head around those courses, well, anything is possible.” That lesson — leadership and success as a team sport and a collaboration — was the central focus of Shank’s spring lecture for the Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series. She said leadership isn’t about a lone individual in a position of power or influence; it’s about connections. “Like the networks you work so hard [at Georgia Tech] to innovate and improve, leadership is, too, a living, breathing network,” Shank said. “Just as society has an infrastructure of water supplies, energy, and systems of transportation, leadership cannot thrive on character alone. In my mind, it is not defined by an individual and his or her followers but, rather, by the
characters and contexts that facilitated his or her ascension to a position of power and the characters and contexts that will inevitably result from his or her leadership.” Shank would know. As chairwoman, CEO and co-founder of Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., she’s built a company responsible for more than $2 trillion in financing for municipal projects and corporate bond and equity transactions. The firm is the top-ranked minorityand woman-owned municipal bond underwriter in the country. As a result, some say Shank is the most powerful woman on Wall Street. “I look at my success and I don’t see Suzanne Shank, the only AfricanAmerican female CEO on Wall Street or one of the 50 most powerful women in business or a founding partner of the nation’s leading muni-bond firm,” Shank said. “I only see connections: the people, the places, the events and the opportunities that brought me here.” CONTEXT, CIRCUMSTANCES MATTER Shank said her connections and opportunities started with her parents, who taught her about hard work and integrity. Her father was the first black bus driver in Georgia and eventually director of transportation for Savannah-Chatham County. Her mother graduated from
Spelman College at 19, later earned a master’s degree, and eventually became an assistant school superintendent. The October 1987 stock market crash created another opportunity for Shank. Now known as Black Monday, markets around the world plummeted and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hemorrhaged $500 billion. Fresh from earning an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Shank saw many of her peers new to the finance industry lose their jobs. But at her small firm, she and her colleagues pulled all-nighters to save their clients millions of dollars. As a result, she came to the attention of Muriel Siebert and Napoleon Brandford, who recruited her to start a new municipal bond firm and act as CEO. “Yes, I was good at my job. Yes, I was determined and ambitious and all those complimentary terms that people throw out to describe effective leaders,” Shank said. “But would I have been able to dig in and prove my mettle if I’d just been given a sweet job out of school and there had been no crisis? And would trailblazers like Muriel Siebert and Napoleon Brandford even have noticed me? “As much as I like to take credit for my success, I think it’s much more complex than that.”
PHOTO: MONICA MORGAN
SUZANNE SHANK, BCE 1983 “I LOOK AT MY SUCCESS AND I DON’T SEE SUZANNE SHANK, THE ONLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN FEMALE CEO ON WALL STREET OR ONE OF THE 50 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN BUSINESS OR A FOUNDING PARTNER OF THE NATION’S LEADING MUNI-BOND FIRM. I ONLY SEE CONNECTIONS: THE PEOPLE, THE PLACES, THE EVENTS AND THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT BROUGHT ME HERE.” WATCH T H E L ECT URE CE.GATECH.EDU/HYATT
ALL ABOARD THE SCHOOL OF CIVIL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING’S ALUMNI ADVISORY BOARD has installed six new members, adding experience in finance law, social media, airport operations, and real-estate development as well as engineering. The new members of the External Advisory Board join two dozen other alumni who help guide the School’s leadership on everything from academics to fundraising.
DEBORAH STAUDINGER Partner, Hogan Lovells “[Joining the board] gives me a chance to reconnect with Tech and to give back to an institution that gave me so much,” said Deborah Staudinger, BCE 1978. Staudinger started her career as a practicing civil engineer but eventually went to law school and now works in the banking group at international law firm Hogan Lovells, where she’s a partner. She said studying civil engineering “helped me develop intellectual discipline and taught me how to think logically about problem solving. That is a skill that is useful in so many fields, including law. Georgia Tech is also such a respected and well-known institution that a degree from Tech is an immediate boost to one’s credibility.”
NEW B O ARD MEMBERS
JIM ANDERSON Chief Executive Officer, SocialFlow Jim Anderson, BCE 1988, MSCE 1989, runs SocialFlow, a software platform used by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other media companies to share their content on social media. He said his work still echoes his days as a geotechnical engineer. “At SocialFlow, [we focus on] helping media companies use these new and amazing social networks to more effectively distribute their content,” he said. “It’s not as tangible as a road or building, but it is important to a functioning society — and very rewarding to work on.” The idea of bettering society weaves through several of the new board members’ careers and their approach to their work.
STEPHEN MULVA Director Construction Industry Institute University of Texas at Austin Stephen Mulva, Ph.D. 2004, helps the construction industry build better roads and structures as the director of the Construction Industry Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.
Jim Anderson BCE 1988, MSCE 1989 Chief Executive Officer, SocialFlow
Edward Metzger BCE 1980 National Accounts Manager, Trane
John Kelley BCE 1992 Partner & Vice President, Development North American Properties
Stephen Mulva Ph.D. 2004 Director, Construction Industry Institute University of Texas at Austin
PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM LEF T: HOGAN LOVELLS, JIM ANDERSON, JOSHUA STEWART, EDWARD ME TZGER, H ARTSFIELD-JACKSON ATL ANTA INTERN ATION AL AIRPORT, UNIVERSIT Y OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
Leaders in construction, law, social media among newest members of School’s External Advisory Board
“There is no more noble business than construction [and] capital projects,” he said. “Civilization and improving the standard of living for the world’s 7 billion people depends on first having a construction project — energy, transportation, education, healthcare, etc., all require construction projects.” Mulva said he wanted to give back to his alma mater because it’s an important community. “Georgia Tech is uniquely positioned to impact the world because it goes beyond just ‘doing good.’ It creates innovations that enable the most good to happen in the most efficient way possible.”
FRANK RUCKER, P.E. Assistant General Manager, Planning and Development, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport John Kelley, BCE 1992, and Frank Rucker, BCE 1979, use their engineering skills to manage projects that aim to improve society. “A CEE degree gives you a broad knowledge base to manage all types of projects,” said Rucker, who is assistant general manager of planning and development at HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport. He oversees the just-underway $6 billion capital improvement plan for the world’s busiest airport.
Frank Rucker, P.E. BCE 1979 Assistant General Manager, Planning and Development Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Deborah Staudinger BCE 1978 Partner, Hogan Lovells
JOHN KELLEY Partner & Vice President, Development North American Properties “I have an engineering background, and I still I use that every day,” said Kelley, partner and vice president of development for North American Properties in Atlanta. “It’s not so much the technical engineering, but the skill set you learn as an engineer to be a project manager.” Kelley’s work spans some of metro Atlanta’s most innovative mixed-use developments, including Avalon in suburban Alpharetta and the redevelopment of Colony Square in Midtown Atlanta.
EDWARD METZGER National Accounts Manager, Trane Edward Metzger, BCE 1980, takes the concept of making lives better to a very literal end in his work as the Georgia national accounts manager for Trane, providing total heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and support to businesses of every size. “A true engineer is always looking for ways and solutions to improve the environment we live and work in,” he said. “Whether it is in business, looking for efficiency improvements, or in life, [improving] life enjoyment, we all look for ways to improve our quality of life.” Metzger said he’s looking forward to working with his fellow board members and renewing old friendships. “I love sharing ideas and experiences with others and look forward to doing so with members of the advisory board,” he said.
EXTERNAL ADVISORY BOARD 65
Jim V. Anderson BCE 1988, MSCE 1989 Chief Executive Officer SocialFlow
Todd I. Long BCE 1989, MSCE 1990 Chief Operating Officer Fulton County, Georgia
Jennie Lee Colosi Balboni, P.E. BCE 1977 President and Treasurer E.T. & L. Corporation
Silvio J. Lopez BCE 1979, MSCE 1981 Senior Vice President Banco Popular
José M. Bern BCE 1995 Vice President, Empresas Bern
Edward Metzger BCE 1980 National Accounts Manager Trane Inc.
Philip Breedlove BCE 1977 Distinguished Professor, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs Retired, United States Air Force Grosvenor “Rusty” Fish BCE 1990, MBA 2000 Senior PGS Engineering Fleet Management Operations Leader GE Power & Water Paul Flower, P.E. BCE 1968 President and CEO Woodward Design + Build Rick L. Garcia BCE 1973 Retired, Delta Airlines Bill Higginbotham, P.E. ADVISORY BOARD VICE CHAIR
BCE 1976 President and CEO ET Environmental Corporation
Michael F. Houlihan, P.E. BCE 1985, MSCE 1987 Principal Engineer and Vice President, Geosyntec Consultants John U. Huffman BCE 1981 Retired President and CEO Pepco Energy Services John M. Kelley BCE 1992 Partner and Vice President, Development North American Properties
James L. Mitchell BSCE 2005 Business Development Manager, Skanska Emmy Montanye, P.E. BCE 1982 Senior Vice President Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. Stephen P. Mulva Ph.D. 2004 Director Construction Industry Institute University of Texas at Austin Charles W. Nelson, P.E. BCE 1970 Chairman, Waldemar S. Nelson and Company, Inc. Christopher D. Pappas BCE 1978 President and CEO, Trinseo Wilson L. “Lee” Presley BCE 1979 Operations Manager, Nuclear, CB&I
Franklin Rucker, P.E. BCE 1979 Assistant General Manager, Planning and Development Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Wassim A. Selman, P.E. BCE 1981, MSCE 1982, Ph.D. 1986 President, North American Infrastructure, ARCADIS S. Paul Shailendra BCE 2001 President, SG Property Services Stacie Sire BCE 1996 Director of Airplane Configuration & Systems Engineering, Boeing Deborah K. Staudinger BCE 1978 Partner, Hogan Lovells Damian K. Taylor BSCE 2001 Vice President CBRE Capital Advisors Michael R. Van Epp BSCE 2003 Senior Vice President Mariner Real Estate Management Richard E. Zalesky ADVISORY BOARD CHAIR
BCE 1978 Retired Chevron Downstream & Chemicals
Josh Rowan, P.E. BCE 1996 Branch Manager McDonough Bolyard Peck Inc.
CEEatGT EXTERNAL ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS PROVIDE AN IMPORTANT OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE THAT IS ESSENTIAL TO MAINTAINING THE RELEVANCE OF OUR PROGRAMS TO INDUSTRY. THEY PLAY A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN VETTING PROGRAMS DESIGNED FOR STUDENTS, ALUMNI AND CORPORATE CONSTITUENCIES TO ENSURE WE MAINTAIN THE HIGHEST QUALITY STANDARDS IN OUR CURRICULUM, PRACTICE AND OUTREACH.
R I G H T : R O B F E LT LEFT PHOTO: ZONGLIN (JACK) LI
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