March 2017 Newsletter

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!

Grad Recruitment Weekend: THANK YOU!

CEE hosted nearly twenty-five diverse, highly-qualified prospective MS and PhD candidates during its Graduate Recruitment and Visitation Weekend, Feb 23-26. We received many compliments about the friendliness, organization, and overall effectiveness of our visit experience. Accordingly, we owe a huge THANKS to everyone who made this possible:

  • To Gail Moruza, Shraddha Prajaraj, and Erin Robartes — for chairing the weekend, including organizing student activities and facilitating the overall visit experience!
  • To current graduate students — for participating in activities on Thurs-Sun, presenting posters on Fri afternoon, and generally making us look good for the visiting prospective students!
  • To Peggy Gibson, Kim Allen, Karen Sleezer, and Pat Gibson — for organizing administrative details related to admissions, travel and accommodations, lunch, and other matters!
  • To Tony Singh and Keegan Gumbs — for organizing lab tours and the wonderful Grad Research Symposium at Slaughter Recreation Center!
  • To Professor Jim Smith and his wife Gail — for opening their home to the visitors for a lovely dinner on Friday evening.
  • To all faculty, staff, and others who met with students and represented our department so well.

Admitted students will have until April 15 to inform us whether they will come to UVA. Ten applicants — a mix of ME, MS, and PhDs — have already accepted our offers. Hopefully this trend will continue. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to making graduate admissions and recruitment such a resounding success!

Results from the Grad Research Symposium

CEE was pleased and proud to host its third annual Graduate Research Symposium on Friday, February 24, as part of the Graduate Recruiting Weekend. This event featured fourteen current CEE graduate students presenting posters related to their ongoing MS and PhD research. This year’s presenters were: Qiang Chen, Lian Cui, Mehrdad Dijazi, Nancy Dutta, Kassandra Grimes, Courtney Hill, Seongah Hong, Di Kang, Ryan Mahon, Gina O’Neil, Daniel Plattenberger, Erin Robartes, Muhammad Sherif, and Thomas Williams. The quality of the presenters was excellent, truly capturing the depth and breadth of cutting-edge CEE research at UVA. Congratulations and thank you to all presenters!

The event was judged by CEE faculty, including: Professors Andres Clarens, Teresa Culver, Jose Gomez, Leidy Klotz, Brian Park, Lisa Peterson, Brian Smith, and Kuo Tian. They awarded first-place honors to Erin Robartes and second-place honors to Seongah Hong. These students will receive $300 and $100 gift cards, respectively. This year’s “people’s choice” honors went to Muhammad Sherif (pictured below), based on a popular vote of event attendees. He will receive a $50 gift card. Congratulations to all of our honorees, and thank you to our judges!

Finally, thank you to all faculty, staff, and students who attended the event. Hopefully everyone agrees that it was a wonderful opportunity to learn about what’s going on in our community of scholars. Extra special thanks to Keegan Gumbs and his graduate student helpers for their hard work and excellent facilitation of this event!

CEE PhD student will compete in 3MT!

CEE PhD candidate Mohamad Alipour has qualified as a finalist for UVA’s 5th-Annual Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition.This is a fun and fast-paced event, challenging doctoral students to describe their dissertation research in three minutes or less for a general audience. 3MT celebrates the discoveries made by research students and encourages them to communicate the importance of their research to the broader community. Nearly $3000 in cash prizes will be awarded to winners!

This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, March 1 at 3 pm in the Special Collections Auditorium. CEE personnel are encouraged to attend and support Mohamad. More information is available here.

CEE’s Mohamad Alipour will present “Citizen Engineer: Crowd-Sourced Data Analytics as an Infrastructure Monitoring Solution” as part of UVA’s Three-Minute Thesis Competition on March 1.

Best wishes for a safe, restorative Spring Break!

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!