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The City of Chicago’s Only Public Research University Alumni Newsletter Fall 2015

IN THIS ISSUE • Faculty News • CEPAC Scholarship Reception and Awards Dinner • Wetland Serves as Classroom and Lab • CME Student Snapshot • Freshman Succeding, Landing Internships • Students Win EPA Award, Present at WEFTEC 2015


Message from the INTERIM DEPARTMENT HEAD

CME is Succeeding and Continuously Improving

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elcome to the fall 2015 Civil and Materials Engineering departmental newsletter! Has it really been a year since our last update? It has been a busy and productive year and several initiatives we told you about last year have come to fruition. First we completed the renovation of our state-of-the-art computer laboratory. This laboratory has been outfitted with the latest professional design and scientific software for use by all of our students and classes. In addition, CME successfully completed its six-year ABET accreditation with flying colors. Our program evaluator lauded the department for its strong ties to industry and the “unusually comprehensive” quality of our teaching (see quote on the right). These ties are illustrated in three stories in this newsletter; an interview with the Chair of our Civil Engineering Professional Council (CEPAC), a story on our 2015 scholarship awards dinner, and a description of our first-in-the-nation guaranteed paid internship program. Faculty news highlights CME faculty awards and some of the $1.2 million in new grants awarded since the spring. Of special note is our own Professor Farhad Ansari being named a UIC Distinguished Professor, the top award at the University. Professor Ansari is the second CME professor to have won this award, joining Distinguished Professor Alexander Chudnovksy. Only one other department in the University has two winners, so we are in a rare company. Other highlights include stories on new grants on smart transportation by CME Associate Professor Jane Lin and a new grant on sustainable landfill design by CME Professor Krishna Reddy. Finally the spotlight goes to our student design team that won the United States Environmental Protection Agency RainWorks Challenge competition. The team, advised by CME Assistant Professor Ben O’Connor, beat out more than 60 other schools and was invited to present their project at the annual WEFTEC National Meeting. With the successes of the past year, we now look to improving the student experience at CME. Although it is still in the planning stage, our goal is to completely renovate our student organization space, including a new steel and wood shop, maker spaces, and a dedicated area for the ASCE student chapter to use for their steel bridge and concrete canoe projects. With hard work and a little luck, we hope to show you these projects in our next newsletter.

Professor Karl Rockne, interim department head, awards CME student Peniza Thapa with a scholarship during the recent CEPAC Scholarship Reception and Awards Dinner. Learn more on page 5. Photo by David Staudacher.

“[CME] has a unique synergistic relationship with industry that has proven very helpful in guiding the program to educate and produce the Civil Engineer graduates needed by the agencies and private engineering companies in the greater Chicago area.” “The faculty delivers an unusually comprehensive program... The students have extensive exposure to practical experience through internships and close participation with professional engineers...”

Regards,

— From the 2014 ABET Report

Karl Rockne, Professor and Interim Department Head

Connect with alumni and students on 2


CME Faculty HIGHLIGHTS

Dr. Farhad Ansari Named Distinguished Professor Congratulations to Dr. Farhad Ansari, of the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering, on being named a UIC Distinguished Professor. Dr. Ansari was recommended by a review panel of UIC Distinguished Professors, and the prestigious designation was bestowed upon him by the University Board of Trustees for his outstanding contributions to research and leadership. “That was my goal to achieve from day one after getting my Ph.D.,” said Professor Ansari. “I’ve worked with a lot of great colleagues and students who motivated me and I learned from them. They are the people who helped make this happen.” The Distinguished Professorship was created to recruit and recognize persons who have made a significant impact upon their field through scholarship, creativity, and leadership. The program facilitates the recruitment of the most distinguished scholars in the world. The criteria used for nomination and appointment within a particular academic

Professor Mahamid Wins UIC 2015 ‘INSPIRE Award’ Clinical Associate Professor Mustafa Mahamid was named a “UIC 2015 INSPIRE Award” winner. The INSPIRE Award is a campus-wide honor recognizing employees who consistently exhibit outstanding service to the University with a commitment to UIC’s Core Values - “Integrity, Nurture, Service, Pride, Intellect, Respect, and Excellence.” Mustafa “Congratulations to Mahamid Mustafa for this richly-deserved award,” said Professor Karl Rockne, CME’s Interim Department Head. “He truly embodies the word INSPIRE and is an asset to the department.” Mustafa is one of only eight people to receive the award during the Employee Recognition Award Ceremony and Reception on Nov. 10 at the UIC Forum. Learn more about Professor Mahamid’s research and accomplishments at Mustafa Mahamid.

field recognize only the highest level of attainment. A one-time monetary award was presented to Professor Ansari during the Faculty Awards Celebration in October. Learn more about UIC Distinguished Professor Farhad Ansari at www.cme.uic.edu.

Professors Lin and Reddy Awarded National Science Foundation Grants Professor Jane Lin recently received a new NSF grant entitled “Smart CROwdsourced Urban Delivery (CROUD) System.” Total funding for the project is $1,000,000, and UIC’s share is $320,000 over three years. The thesis of the CROUD is the ability, enabled by recent advances in communication and ubiquitous mobile computing, to match highly fragmented transport capacities with vastly diverse demand for urban deliveries, temporally, spatially and in real-time. The project will build on collaboration between a CROUD-based technol- Jane Lin ogy firm Roadie, UIC, and Northwestern University to develop intelligence necessary to integrate the CROUD technology into a human-centered smart urban delivery service system. Learn more at Jan Lin. Professor Krishna Reddy received a new three year grant from the National Science Foundation entitled “Modeling Coupled Dynamic Processes in Landfills: Holistic Long-Term Performance Management to Improve Sustainability.” The grant is for $279,281, and this is Professor Reddy’s second active NSF grant in this area. This project will develop a new coupled mathematical tool to enable the design and operation of stable, effective and sustainable engineered landfills, thereby minimizing long-term risks to the surrounding environ- Krishna Reddy ment and public. The tool will enable practitioners and regulators to predict the highly complex landfill stabilization period, and allow for the planning of beneficial reuse of landfill space. Learn more at Krishna Reddy. 3


Civil Engineering Professional ADVISORY COUNCIL

CEPAC Brings More Than Ideas to CME By David Staudacher

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eing located in the heart of a one of the world’s most vibrant cities provides UIC’s students, faculty and staff with unique resources that can’t be found at other colleges. In the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering, the Civil Engineering Professional Advisory Council (CEPAC) is a resource that provides much more than the name suggests. “The heart of CEPAC is to provide input to the department as it considers curriculum changes,” said CEPAC Chairman Ken Nelson. “One of the things we appreciate about being part of CEPAC is our comments are not just solicited - they are implemented. The idea is we are here to help the university prepare students for the working world.” CEPAC was established in 2000, and consists of civil engineering faculty members and professional practitioners with the purpose of enhancing undergraduate education at UIC by providing feedback from the industry. The members are from the environmental and hydraulics, geotechnical, structures and transportation areas, and are representatives of private companies and governmental agencies. The private companies include Alfred Benesch, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Clark Dietz, Hospira, Inc., Infrastructure Engineering, Inc., Klein and Hoffman, Sargent & Lundy, Turner Construction, and T.Y. Lin. The public organizations include DuPage County, Illinois DOT District 1, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, US Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District, and Will County. “Many of the firms represented in CEPAC are regional and national companies,” said Nelson, who also is a UIC alumnus. “Several are international firms, who are using engineers all over the world. Being located in Chicago makes UIC unique. There is a city surrounding the school where students can be practicing; it’s a laboratory around us. There are many opportunities for the students to get internships,

summer jobs and ultimately career jobs.” While many colleges have advisory boards, UIC’s CEPAC members do more than advise the department on curriculum. They are heavily involved in the department’s growth as the members provide scholarships, teach as adjunct faculty, offer internships, and hire graduates. “There is a lot of engineering being practiced on our doorstep,” said Nelson. “There are opportunities for our students that you will not find at other universities that are located in smaller cities. Urban universities have become more attractive to students who want to go to school in a big city environment. We are one of few, real, true urban campuses. Not on the fringe, but right across the road from downtown.” According to Nelson, the CEPAC members take pride in giving back to the university and helping the students. The members are often called upon to make presentations at the college, and they are involved extensively in the Engineering Expo project as mentors and judges. “One CEPAC member is an professor of practice at UIC and runs the senior design project,” said Nelson. “What makes it interesting is he runs it a little more like we run a company. His employees mentor students and teach scheduling and budgeting.” “It starts with an interaction between the industry and the professors, and then you start to realize these are future employees for your company,” he said. “There is a benefit for the company to get involved. You are getting exposed to all these great potential employees. And many of the companies are hiring these students. We have a relationship that is beneficial to both parties. The university benefits, the companies benefit and it’s all working out very well.” Apart from the companies benefiting, Nelson said the CEPAC members gain in other ways. 4

Ken Nelson, Chairman of UIC’s Civil Engineering Professional Advisory Council, discusses the benefits of local companies giving back to the university. Photo by David Staudacher, UIC.

“It is nice to get away (from the business), interact with the students, and see how much the university has grown. It is so much better and bigger, and when I see the quality of students I’m really impressed.” — Ken Nelson, CEPAC Chairman

“You get reinvigorated when you go back to the campus,” said Nelson. “It is nice to get away (from the business), interact with the students, and see how much the university has grown. It is so much better and bigger, and when I see the quality of students I’m really impressed.” Learn more about CEPAC at www. cme.uic.edu/bin/view/CME/CEPAC.


CEPAC Scholarship Reception and Awards Dinner

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ives were changed 0n Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, as UIC’s Civil Engineering Professional Advisory Council met with CME’s undergraduate students for the Scholarship Reception and Awards Dinner at UIC. Through the generosity of donors and partners, CME awarded scholarships to 39 students. The support helps UIC in our mission to continue to provide access to excellence and success for our students. Board members added warmth to the introductions as they detailed the scholarship requirements and the interests and accomplishments of the donors. At the event, students received a certificate, and, in many cases, they were able to meet the donor of their scholarship or a corporate representative as they networked during dinner and after the scholarships were awarded. More pictures from the event are online at www.cme.uic.edu.

Scholarship Donors and Recipients Alfred Benesch Scholarship Daniel J. Wierzbicki

Jack A. Goldfarb Scholarship Erin Hanegraaf

Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Graduate Student Award Erin N. Yargicoglu, Saeed Karim Baba Najad Mamaghani, Ahmadreza Talebian

Colonel William J. Hawes Scholarship Brendon Kline De Rosario

Rosemary Burke Scholarship Sania Ali, Marvin Ambrocio, Jonathan Sandoval, Patricia V. Zareba

Nancy Anderson Holmes Scholarship Mohamed E. Elhannouny IRTBA (Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association) Scholarship Abdulsalam M. Mirza

E.E. Carter Opportunity Scholarship Diana L. Briones

Kasi Foundation Scholarship Katalina A. Rodriguez

Kenneth E. Nelson Scholarship Nouhessedo M. Agondanou Samartano & Company / Henry Marek Scholarship Kamil A. Kobylka Sargent and Lundy Scholarship Hector Barajas, Amir Elias, Muhammad Hashim, Nicholas Lordis, Katalina A. Rodriguez, Armel Tefoung, Kimberly White, Daniel J. Wierzbicki Thomas and Romana Ting Scholarship Robert S. Doumas

CEPAC Scholarship Sebastian S. Kolpak, Francine Y. Wong

Knowles, Inc. Scholarship for Women Engineers Peniza Thapa

Clark Dietz Scholarship Cristian X. Vargas

Professor Dusan Krajcinovic Scholarship Fadi Abuzir

Turner Construction Scholarship Mary K. Cunningham, Kevin F. Ortega

Olive Chacey Kuehn and Alfred L. Kuehn Scholarship Daniel J. Wierzbicki

T.Y. Lin Engineering Merit Scholarship Jessica M. Taskila

Wilfred F. and Ruth Davison Langelier Scholarship Brendon Kline De Rosario, Katalina A. Rodriguez

Xerox Scholarship Cristian X. Vargas

Professor Edward H. Coe Scholarship Adam M. Dasoqi Dean’s Scholarship (UIC College of Engineering) Hibah Rehman

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Wetlands Serves as a CLASSROOM AND LAB

Professor Karl Rockne is working with The Wetlands Initiative at Thacker Farms in Ohio, Ill., to reduce nutrients found in runoff from farms and urban areas. The effort is part of a national program to address the “Gulf Dead Zone” off the coast of Louisiana and Texas. Photo courtesy of Jill Kostel, The Wetlands Initiative.

Project to Reduce Runoff of Polluting Nutrients at Farmland By Jeanne Galatzer-Levy, UIC News

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new wetlands project will reduce the runoff of polluting nutrients from Illinois farmland. University of Illinois at Chicago Professor Karl Rockne in partnership with The Wetlands Initiative will lead the Illinois Nutrient Education and Research Council-funded project. The wetland can reduce nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients found in runoff from farms and urban areas. The effort is part of a national program to address the “Gulf Dead Zone” off the coast of Louisiana and Texas. Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from the Mississippi watershed flows into the Gulf of Mexico where they cause excessive algae growth. When the algae die they are biodegraded by bacteria, decreasing the supply of oxygen in the water and killing fish. “We know that the ultimate fix will be stopping the nutrients flowing into the Mississippi from the Midwest,” said Rockne. All the states that form the Mississippi watershed have set goals for reducing the runoff of these nutrients into the Mississippi River. Illinois hopes to reduce its contribution to the problem by 50 percent by 2025. The wetlands project targets agricultural areas where 80 percent of the nitrogen runoff occurs. “We’re designing a system that can be put on marginal land, not prime land,” said Rockne. This land is on edges of farms, low areas where it’s possible to intercept water moving through drain tiles. Million of miles of drain tiles have been put in the Midwest, according to

Rockne. “They drain marginal farmland to create better farmland, but they also act as a superhighway for getting nutrients out of the system.” “We intercept and run that nutrient-rich water into the created wetland,” said Rockne. The water is exposed to bacteria that use nitrate the same way we use oxygen—they breathe nitrate. We select the right conditions for these bacteria to do their thing.” The gold standard for an environmental fix is to take something bad and transform it into something that is 100 percent benign, said Rockne. “These bacteria achieve that, they take nitrate and turn it into nitrogen gas, which is completely benign. The air we breathe is 79 percent nitrogen.” As the wetland matures, Rockne hopes to find ways to capture phosphorus as well. The new wetland will serve as a demonstration project which The Wetlands Initiative will promote throughout the state, where Rockne believes they will find wide-spread support. “More and more, people are not seeing the other side as the enemy,” said Rockne. “Environmentalists and farmers are working together. Even hunters are on board — the buffer zone around wetlands can become a welcome habitat for pheasants.” “This is a win, win, win situation,” said Rockne. More information about Professor Rockne’s Research can be found at www. cme.uic.edu/Rockne. 6

Professor Rockne and UIC doctoral student Mahsa Izadmehr inspect one of the large pieces of machinery used to create the wetlands. Photo courtesy of Vera Leopold, The Wetlands Initiative.

The wetland is a half-acre of land at the edge of a cornfield and bordered by a creek on the farm. Photo courtesy of Jill Kostel, The Wetlands Initiative.


Snapshots of CME STUDENTS

Freshmen are an Example of Department’s Growing Diversity

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IC takes pride in being one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse universities in the United States. The urban campus is a reflection of Chicago with a student body, faculty and staff that boosts multiple voices, races, cultures, beliefs, identities, orientations and points of view. Recently, three CME freshmen shared their stories about where they are from and how they found UIC.

Andreana Dominique Ortiz, Philippines/Uganda Andreana was born in the Philippines, moved to Uganda at the age of 12 and lived there for six years. Now, at the age of 18, she is in Chicago studying engineering at UIC and enjoying a variety of new experiences. “I moved to Chicago in August. This is my first time visiting America,” she said. “There is a lot going on in Chicago and so much to see and do here.” In Uganda, Andreana attended an international school, where she met people from around the world. Instead of following those friends to the west coast, she applied to UIC’s CME department, which is closer to her brother who attends college in Illinois. At UIC, she is finding the same diversity as she meets new friends from around the world in the dorms and classrooms. “Ultimately, I want to work for the United Nations,” she said. “My dream is to live on six, or possibly all seven, continents. I’ve already lived in Asia and Africa and now I’m in the U.S. Hopefully, civil engineering will take me to South America, Australia and Europe. If by any chance I can go to Antarctica, I will.” Before going to Antarctica, Andreana has to get through her first Chicago winter. “I’m a little nervous about winter after hearing friends talk about the cold,” she said. “I’ve never seen real snow, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Sania Ali, Pakistan Sania is well traveled for an 18-yearold. She has visited Turkey, Spain, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates. She also spent significant time living in the U.S., Japan, Saudi Arabia, and 10 years in Pakistan. Having very little memory of her time in the U.S. as a youth, returning to the Chicago area was a big change. “Life in Pakistan is different, but not in the ways people would expect,” said Sania. “I think there are slight cultural differences from here. I go to the movies and hang out with friends like I do here.” According to Sania, a cultural difference was not getting out of school early on Friday, which is common in Pakistan. “In Pakistan, there is a Muslim prayer on Friday, and most schools end early so people can go to that prayer if they want to go,” she said. “Similar to Christians on Sunday, except we do it on Friday. Even if you weren’t Muslim, it was an idea that was instilled into you.” Sania was considering three schools for college, but chose UIC after a campus visit. She loved the location and met professors who understood the culture changes. “The only idea I had of U.S. universities is from scenes in movies,” she said. “But UIC was different, and that’s a good thing. You have the life of the city on the campus, and it’s a cool change from a campus in the country side. I’ve always liked living in the city and it’s exciting.” 7

Patricia Zareba Patricia may be from Niles, Ill., but she has a lot in common with her classmates. Her parents are immigrants from Poland, she travels to Poland often, and speaks the language fluently. Patricia went to Lincoln Park High School where she participated in the International Baccalaureate program, which is structured for international students and had an intense class schedule that prepared her for college. “I adore UIC,” she said. “The experience, the environment, the campus, and everything about this school is awesome. It’s very inviting and friendly.” Patricia was looking at several colleges, but choose UIC after meeting professors Sybil Derrible and Didem Ozevin at an open house. At the event, she had the opportunity to talk to them one-on-one about UIC, and its engineering program. It was that meeting and the genuine interest in her as a student that made her choose UIC. “They are still accessible,” she said. “The people and the professors here are friendly and meeting them was a unique experience itself.” Find more stories about the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering at www.cme.uic.edu. - Story and photos by David Staudacher, UIC


Freshman Engineering SUCESS PROGRAM

After completing the Freshman Engineering Success Program at UIC, sophomore Oksana Zurawel (last person on the right of the middle row) landed an internship with the civil engineering firm Mackie Consultants, LLC in Rosemont. She also earned a spot on the intern softball team. Photo courtesey of Mackie Consultants, LLC.

Freshman Programs are a Gateway to Early Success By David Staudacher, UIC

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ngineers are problem solvers. And the six departments that make up UIC’s College of Engineering developed a solution to put freshmen on the path to early success. It’s called the Freshman Engineering Success Program (FESP), and it is designed to motivate and support students with their studies. It also rewards them with a guaranteed paid internship at the end of the year. The program, now in its third year, consists of a series of sessions and group projects encouraging students to learn more about their discipline and how to build an engineering sense by using their existing math and science skills. Throughout the year, the students participate in at least two general sessions, two team-based mini-projects, and are introduced to the wide array of resources at UIC to help them achieve academic success. Additional support comes from required tutoring sessions with by undergraduate engineering students who are dedicated to helping engineering freshmen in their math and science coursework throughout the year. “The idea is to guide the freshmen from the very beginning, and teach them about the about engineering and its different disciplines,” said Dr. Mustafa Mahamid, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering. “The program gives the freshmen a better understanding of the curriculum they are in, and full exposure to what they will be studying over the next four years.” Apart from providing student with projects and tutors, the program introduces students to the professional workplace. They learn how to write a resume, what to expect during an interview, and have the opportunity to learn from industry professionals who visit the campus for

speaking engagements. “We prepare them for the real world, in terms of team work and how the different engineering disciplines work together and with other professionals,” said Mahamid. “Additionally, we discuss how to behave in the workplace, and the use of proper communication on the phone and in email. We cover what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.” “We learned how to make a resume, which I have never done,” said Diana Briones, a civil engineering student, who participated in the program during its first year. “They taught us how to respond to emails. The program instructors emphasized proper grammar, not using emoji, and basic things that you take for granted and are not taught in high school.” Civil engineering student Oksana Zurawel participated in the program last year and found it to be beneficial in many ways.

“If I wasn’t in the FESP, I wouldn’t have had an internship or even thought of applying for an internship. I got into all of the colleges I applied to. But an internship is huge as a freshmen, and it is one of the reasons why I decided to go to UIC.” — Oksana Zurawel, civil engineering student

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“We prepare them for the real world, in terms of team work and how the different engineering disciplines work together and with other professionals.” — Dr. Mustafa Mahamid, clinical associate professor in the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering

“It’s all about getting career ready,” said Zurawel. “We had professors or people from the working world come in and talk to us, and it was really good for making connections and networking.”

“Most students don’t take his classes until senior year and I know him already, which is pretty cool,” said Zurawel. After completing her internship, Zurawel pursued an extended internship during the fall semester on days when she is not in class. Now she is working twice a week in her industry and loving it. “I am gaining a lot of experience,” she said. “Everything I am exposed to was new to me. It’s not what I was expecting and that’s a good thing. As a freshmen, you have math and physics and it’s not really engineering courses, the internship is all new experiences.” With multiple opportunities to attend other colleges, Zurawel acknowledged the Guaranteed Paid Internship Program as a key factor in choosing UIC. “If I wasn’t in the FESP, I wouldn’t have had an internship or even thought of applying for an internship,” she said. “I got into all of the colleges I applied to. But an internship is huge as a freshmen, and it is one of the reasons why I decided to go to UIC.” Learn more about the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering, FESP, and GPIP at www.cme.uic.edu.

Gaining Real-World Experience Students who successfully complete the FESP requirements and maintain a GPA of 3.2 or greater during the first and second semester qualify for the Guaranteed Paid Internship Program (GPIP) during the summer that follows their freshman year. The freshmen are placed in engineering firms in the Chicago area or in a research laboratory at UIC, where they are exposed to real world engineering practices, build relationships with industry professionals and college professors, and gain valuable experience. In its first two years, more than 150 freshmen have participated in the program and worked summer internships, which included Briones and Zurawel. Briones, who is now a junior at UIC, was part of the first freshmen class to participate in the program, and landed an internship with Primera Engineers in downtown Chicago, where she worked on transportation projects. “I learned a lot. I didn’t know engineers had anything to do with pedestrians and bicycles,” said Briones. “But bicycles are a hot topic with engineers because we are looking at getting vehicles to places and now we are adding bicycles to the mix, and it gets complicated quickly.” With one internship under her belt, she landed her second internship after her sophomore year and worked as a research assistant with Assistant Professor Didem Ozevin in the “Nondestructive Evaluation of Civil Structures Laboratory.” Both internships exposed her to different aspects of engineering and she credits the FESP and GPIP for providing her with experiences that are helping her make important decisions at an early stage in her career. Zurawel, a sophomore at UIC, participated in the two programs last year, which helped her start networking and secure an internship with the civil engineering firm Mackie Consultants, LLC in Rosemont, Ill. Mackie Consultants is part of The Burke Group, and is a top engineering firm in Illinois and Indiana. “My experience was awesome. It was all engineering work” said Zurawel. “I learned how to work with MicroStation [a software engineers use to create two- and three-dimension designs], and the rules of how to design, with most of it focused on storm water design.” “One of my projects during the internship was to design a crosswalk, and it will be implemented,” she said. “When it’s being built I can say ‘I designed that.’” Another benefit to the internship was being introduced to UIC Professor of Practice Christopher Burke, who owns Christopher B. Burke Engineering.

UIC’s Freshman Engineering Success Program and Guaranteed Paid Internship Program helped Diana Biorones get a jump start on her career with an internship at Primera Engineers and a position working in one of the UIC research laboratories. Photo by David Staudacher, UIC.

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Campus RainWorks Challenege WINNING TEAM

UIC students (from left) David Klawitter, Annie Cosgrove Eduardo Muno, Curtis Witek, and Nicholas Haas represented UIC’s winning team at WEFTEC 2015. Photo courtesy of UIC Professor Ben O’Connor.

Students Present Award-Winning Project at WEFTEC 2015 By David Staudacher, UIC

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arlier this year, a group of UIC students won first place in the Master Plan Category in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Campus RainWorks Challenge” for their green infrastructure design to manage storm water on UIC’s East Campus. The team beat out more than 500 college students from 64 teams and 23 states. As the winning team, the students also had the opportunity to bring its design to McCormick Place in Chicago for one of the largest water quality conferences in the world. The team was invited by the Water and Environment Federation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to present their project at WEFTEC 2015, which is the Water Environment Federation’s annual conference that brings together thousands of professionals involved with water quality science and engineering. The conference was held Sept. 26 to 30, and the UIC team presented their award-winning project as part of the Stormwater Congress on Sept. 29, in the Stormwater Theater at booth 213. The UIC team consists of Civil and Materials Engineering students Nick Haas, Lisha Wu, David Klawitter, Emmanuel Dominguez, Urban Planning and Policy students Curtis Witek and Eduardo Munoz, and Earth and Environmental Sciences student Annie Cosgrove. The team was joined by its faculty advisor Professor Ben O’Connor of

the Department of Civil and Materials Engineering. “I think the students are proud of their achievement and like the recognition they are getting,” said Professor O’Connor. “As their adviser, I am impressed that they are all still very active in the project they created. Many are now trying to figure out means to implement their plan by looking for various funding opportunities to support green infrastructure on campus.” The Campus RainWorks Challenge is a national competition the EPA holds for university student groups to design green storm water infrastructure on their campus. The UIC team designed a green infrastructure project to manage storm water on the east campus. The students came up with a practical, 10-year plan to improve rainwater management, phasing in improvements gradually and economically and reducing runoff by 30 million gallons. Their plan includes replacing flooded lawn with native grasses and plants to save on maintenance, mowing and irrigation, and replacing paving material in parking lots with more permeable materials (for practical and economic reasons, this could be done when upgrades or repairs are already planned). Learn more about the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Civil and Materials Engineering at www. cme.uic.edu. 10

Civil and Materials Engineering Fall 2015 Alumni Newsletter  

In this issue: Message from the Interim Department Head Dr. Karl Rockne, Faculty Highlights, CEPAC Scholarship Reception and Awards Dinner,...

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