December 2016/January 2017 Newsletter

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What’s new in CEE?

Graduate students are the hands, arms, eyes, ears, and legs of CEE when it comes to research and teaching. Accordingly, the goal of the monthly newsletter will be to share information about grad-related matters and also celebrate the achievement of our graduate students; thereby creating a stronger “community of scholars”. If you have professional news  (e.g., papers accepted, thesis/dissertation milestones achieved, or conferences attended, or fellowships received) or noteworthy news (e.g., getting engaged, having a baby), please email it to cee-grad@virginia.edu!


What’s new in CEE?

Graduate students are the hands, arms, eyes, ears, and legs of CEE when it comes to research and teaching. Accordingly, the goal of the monthly newsletter will be to share information about grad-related matters and also celebrate the achievement of our graduate students; thereby creating a stronger “community of scholars”. If you have professional news  (e.g., papers accepted, thesis/dissertation milestones achieved, or conferences attended, or fellowships received) or noteworthy news (e.g., getting engaged, having a baby), please email it to cee-grad@virginia.edu!


Announcing the Hamilton Graduate Fellows!

Our department is pleased to announce the first-ever recipients of the Mariana S. Hamilton Endowed Fellowships. These fellowships acknowledge exemplary scholarship and academic performance among CEE graduate students. Winners were nominated by their advisers and selected by the faculty in a department-wide vote. Eligibility was limited to female and URM (underrepresented minority) doctoral students, as part of CEE’s commitment to growing the diversity and overall excellence of PhD-trained civil and environmental engineers. Fellows will receive a $500 bonus per semester for Fall and Spring 2017. Congratulations to our winners!

Nomination statements for both winners are below:

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Ms. Sarah Bauer has been a superior graduate student over the past three years. She has one paper in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering (IF = 5.267) and one first-authored paper in Bioresource Technology (IF = 4.917). She won first-place at the CEE Graduate Research Symposium and UVERS (the SEAS Graduate Research Symposium) and also earned an Honorable Mention at the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) National Conference — all in 2015. She is the most recent recipient of the CEE Outstanding Graduate Research Award. She has also been an enthusiastic GTA and an excellent departmental citizen, having served as CEE’s GESC representative and an officer of that organization and also chaired the department’s recruiting efforts in 2014. She has mentored four CE 4990 teams, at least one of which has won the CEE Thesis Symposium.
(Photo via LinkedIn.com)

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Ms. Seongah Hong has been an outstanding graduate student over the past two years. She was selected as a recipient of the Oak Ridge National Lab’s Go Program (2015-16). Her exemplary research performance has been well recognized by several awards, including: best paper award at the Intelligent Transportation Systems Virginia Conference (July 2015, 2nd place), the excellent student paper award at the Korean Transportation Association in America Annual Meeting (2016), the best poster awards at the Virginia Washington Metro Regional Conference (Apr. 2015), and US Korea Conference (2015). She has two papers accepted for presentation at upcoming Transportation Research Board Annual meeting in Washington D.C., and two papers are under review in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation (IF: 3.209) as first author.. She has been active in the leadership role including the president of the UVA’s Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Student Chapter.
(Photo via CPS Global Center)


Thank you, thesis mentors!

The fifth annual CEE Fourth-Year Thesis Symposium was held on Friday, December 2 in Slaughter Recreation Center. Roughly twenty teams of CEE fourth-years presented posters based on their semester-long research and design projects, illustrating the breadth, depth, and high quality of CEE research. Many teams worked closely with CEE graduate students, who provided hands-on mentorship and guidance. Since many undergraduate alumni indicate that their thesis experience was a highlight of their time at UVA, we are indebted to the graduate student mentors for their time, efforts, and enthusiasm. Special thanks and recognition also goes to the mentors of the winning teams (below).

Honorable Mentions:

  • The effects of silver on mosquito larvae growth by Sarah Nerette, Matthew Smith and Cary Wingo
    Mentor: Charles Burgis
  • Analysis of brewery waste as a viable source of feed-stock for production of second-generation biofuels using hydrothermal liquefaction by Catherine Reynolds
    Mentor: Sarah Bauer

Best Team-based Project:

  • Bio-inspired self-sensing concrete by Erin Falvey, Bethany Gordon, Erika Kilgore and Will Rupp
    Mentors: Muhammad Sherif and Zhangfan Jiang

Overall Best Project

  • Residual antibiotic potency after algae-mediated treatment: A focus on Ciprofloxacin by Lauren Marshall
    Mentor: Kassandra Grimes

Additional special thanks to Professor Teresa Culver and staff members Keegan Gumbs and Pat Gibson, for their hard work in putting together this year’s event.


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CEE graduate students, faculty, and research staff attend the Fourth-Year Thesis Symposium.


Reminders about spring seminar series

A reminder that all CEE MS and PhD students should enroll for zero credits of CE 7001. This is required for research-active graduate students, especially students receiving departmental fellowship or GTA support. Additionally, students are required to sign up for at least one shift as moderator and/or refreshments point person, using this Google Doc. Unclaimed shifts will be assigned to unscheduled graduate students during early Janauary. Faculty are reminded to update the schedule and alert Pat Gibson as they book their speakers.


Seeking recruiting chair (and other updates)

It’s once again time for graduate student recruiting! The deadline for applicants starting in August 2017 will be January 15, which is rapidly approaching. As you may know, SEAS is aggressively pursuing an ambitious goal of doubling the size of the graduate research program within the next 5-7 years. As part of this effort, SEAS would like to bring 200, instead of 100, prospective graduate students to Grounds during the recruitment weekend. For CEE to double its number of recruitment attendees, we’ll need to bring in roughly forty prospective students. This means we need to be proactive and bold in recruiting the best possible students. Three items of note pertaining to graduate recruitment:

First, we are in need of 1-2 graduate students to serve as a chair(s) of the graduate recruiting activities Fri, Feb 23 through Sun, Feb 25. Past chairs include EWRE students Sarah Bauer, Kassie Grimes, Courtney Hill, and Charles Burgis. It would be wonderful to have more formal participation among the infrastructure (i.e., transportation and structures) graduate students. Please email Lisa Colosi Peterson (lmc6b@virginia.edu) if you are interested in serving as chair. Information about other opportunities to assist with recruitment activities will be forthcoming closer to the event.

Second, we will once again hold a CEE Graduate Research Symposium as part of our recruiting weekend activities. This will be the third year for this event. It is tentatively scheduled for the afternoon of Fri, Feb 23. All current MS and PhD students are eligible to present a poster, up to 1-2 persons per research group. Please talk with your advisers if you wish to be selected as a representative from your group. A reminder that several cash prizes are awarded to the winners of the symposium, including: “People’s Choice” (as judged by all attendees), and also “Best Overall”, as selected by a panel of celebrity judges. The best overall poster is displayed for one year in a place of honor in Civil Commons.

Finally, we will add roughly 6-8 new CEE graduate students for Spring 2017. Please go out of your way to make these students feel welcome, as there are generally fewer formal “welcome” events in the spring semester compared to the fall.


Recent Papers from CEE…

Here are some recent papersby CEE students, post-docs, and faculty. Check out what your colleagues have been working on and congratulate them on their achievements!

  • Daghash, S; Ozbulut, O. (2016) Characterization of superelastic shape memory alloy fiber-reinforced polymer composites under tensile cyclic loading. Materials & Design. DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2016.09.034
  • Gheitasi, A; Ozbulut, O.; Usmani, S.; Alipour, M.; Harris, D. (2016) Experimental and analytical vibration serviceability assessment of an in-service footbridge. Case Studies in Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation. DOI: 10.1016/j.csndt.2016.11.001
  • Shealy, T.; Klotz, L.; et al (2016) Half of students interested in civil engineering do not believe in anthropogenic climate change. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)EI.1943-5541.0000323

. This is a great way to highlight your work, network with other researchers, and make yourself visible to employers for future post-docs and faculty positions.


dce2e62b-dba4-452a-94c8-711386505221 Original figure from Daghash and Ozbulut (2016).


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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!