April 2016 Newsletter


What’s new in CEE?

Congratulations to CEE’s UVERS Participants!

Written by Sarah Bauer

On Friday, April 1st, UVa’s Graduate Engineering Student Council (GESC) hosted its 12th annual University of Virginia Engineering Research Symposium (UVERS) which highlighted the excellence in research of SEAS graduate engineering students.

For this year’s symposium, 15 finalists, out of 65 abstract submissions, were chosen to present their work to fellow students, faculty, and the public while competing for recognition and monetary prizes.
CEE’s own Kassie Grimes (left in photos below) and Katie Nunnelley (right in photos below) were selected as finalists.  They both did a great job representing the excellent work of CEE at the symposium.  As part of UVERS, GESC hosted a captivating lunch seminar entitled “Preparing for Your Career”, a presentation given by Drs. Nam Le (Postdoctoral Research, Naval Research Laboratory) and Patrick Hopkins (Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UVa).

After the presentations and poster session, 5 awards were given to finalists based on judges’ scores.  The winners were as follows:

  • 1st Place: Ayodeji Bode-Oke, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • 2nd Place: Joshua Heuslein, Biomedical Engineering
  • 3rd Place: Joanna Adadevoh, Chemical Engineering
  • 4th Place: Thein-Khoi Phung, Biomedical Engineering
  • 5th Place: a tie between Zachary Harris, Material Science and Engineering & Kassie Grimes, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Congratulations, Kassie! 

*Editor’s Note: CEE readers may remember that our own Sarah Bauer won first-place in UVERS 2015. Thus, CEE graduate students are strongly encouraged to submit to UVERS in the future.

Where are they now? – Dr. Wesley Zell

Have you ever wondered what CEE graduate alumni do after they leave Thornton Hall? You’re in luck. The CEE graduate newsletter will periodically feature recently graduated graduate alumni in interview format, so that they can tell you about themselves and what they’re up to.

This month’s featured alum, Dr. Wesley (Wes) Zell, will be here in person on Friday, April 8! He will present a seminar entitled, Groundwater modeling across scales and purposes: (i) Data driven generation of multiple models of agricultural nitrate transport in a small Chesapeake Bay catchment, and (ii) Towards a national groundwater model.  Since graduating with his PhD in 2015, Wes has worked for the United States Geology Survey. Please plan to attend the seminar to hear what he has been working on and ask any questions about the PhD process, finishing up a dissertation, searching for a job, etc.

Would you like to recommend a recent alum to be featured in an upcoming newsletters? Please email their name and email address to cee-grad@virginia.edu!

Reminders regarding Course Registration

As of this week, graduate students are able to enroll in courses for the Summer and Fall 2016 semesters. Please talk with your adviser and register in your selected courses ASAP — by the end of this week if possible. It is very helpful to know how many credits of coursework/research each graduate student will be taking so that we can accurately and equitably distribute the department’s financial resources including GTAs and fellowships.

As a reminder, MS and PhD students should be enrolling in CE 8999 and CE 9999, respectively, for supervised thesis/dissertation research. Students receiving financial support from the department during any given semester should NOT enroll for CE 6995 or 7995 unless they have express permission from their adviser and the CEE Graduate Director. Peggy Gibson can address questions in this vein.

Seminar Series planning meeting TBD

CEE graduate students have played an increasingly important role in the coordination and execution of the departmental seminar series this semester. They have recommended and invited speakers, arranged schedules for their invited visitors, introduced the speakers and moderated the Q&A sessions, and taken charge of the refreshments. Their increased activity has contributed to a more vibrant and better-attended seminar series compared to previous semesters, and it would be ideal to keep this momentum moving forward.

The CEE Graduate Director will convene a planning meeting, most likely during finals week, to map out the seminar series for Fall 2016. Additional details (location, time, and date) of this meeting will be forthcoming via email. Refreshments will be served! Graduate students, research staff, and faculty are all encouraged to attend. Please plan to participate and/or bring your speaker suggestions and ideas for organizational improvements.

Kassie Grimes wins NSF Fellowship

CEE graduate student Kassie Grimes has been awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship. She is one 2,000 winners selected from more than 17,000 applicants this year; five other UVA graduate students were also selected, all but one of whom are in SEAS. Per NSF, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GFRP) helps “ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the US” by “recogniz[ing] and support[ing] outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.” It is the oldest  fellowship of its kind, and previous winners include numerous Nobel Prize winners and other key contributors in STEM fields. Fellows receive a generous stipend for three years plus an allowance to cover tuition and other related costs, affording them excellent freedom to conduct research on topics of their choosing.

Kasie is originally from southern New Jersey. She has a BS in Civil Engineering from Rowan University and is currently wrapping up her MS en route to a PhD. Her present research focuses on understanding algae-mediated transformations of unregulated organic contaminants, most notably antibiotic drugs, in the water supply; with a goal of articulating the possible water and energy sustainability benefits of algae-mediated wastewater treatment systems. Her other accomplishments include selection as a finalist in the University of Virginia Engineering Research Symposium (UVERS). She also serves graduate research assistant for the UVA CHARGE program, which seeks to  “increase the participation of women in the academic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and social, behavioral and economic (SBE) science careers” at UVA and elsewhere.

CEE is pleased and proud to congratulate Kassie on this wonderful accomplishment!

Have you recently had a paper accepted, or do you have other professional or personal news that you’d like to share? Email it to cee-grad@virginia.edu!


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