Freddy Paige, Ph.D.: Energy Education and Home Design

Friday, April 28th
Noon, in Thornton Hall D221

Freddy Paige, PhD
Research Scientist, The Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program
The Charles E. Via, Jr Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering,
Virginia Tech

Come and join an interactive discussion on energy education and home design! In this talk, the influence energy efficient homes have on the Energy Literacy of occupants and visitors will be discussed exemplifying the educational and behavior impacts designers have on society. Examples from my case studies show how utilizing features of EE homes like utility bills and energy efficient devices can make lessons on the energy more personally relevant, understandable, and applicable. Implications of this study apply to a variety of energy stakeholders such as educators, policy makers, engineers, and designers. Grounded by an Energy Literacy framework developed by dozens of educational partners and federal agencies, this study focused on critical energy concepts that are transferable to energy decisions beyond the walls of a home.


Dr. Freddy Paige investigates the educational impacts of sustainable infrastructure. His main goal is to create the knowledge needed to develop an informed public who lives in a sustainable built environment. Freddy’s work with a variety of utilities, sustainability non-profits, and educational institutions has provided him a versatile toolset of knowledge and skills needed to address a diverse range of sustainability issues. Beyond his research Freddy enjoys teaching, mentoring, basketball, and making music.

Department: The Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program, The Charles E. Via, Jr Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech

Freddy Paige’s Hometown: Binghamton, NY & Murrells Inlet, SC

Recognitions: NSF GRFP Honorable Mention 2014, GAANN Fellow, W.E.B. DuBois Pinnacle Award 2016, Communicator Award 2014, Videographer of the Year 2013, Glenn Global Leadership Award 2013.

This seminar is hosted by Professor Leidy E. Klotz, CEE and SARC.
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Elise Miller-Hooks: Multi-Hazard Resilience Quantification in Interdependent Civil Infrastructure Systems

Friday, April 21st
Noon, in Thornton Hall D221

Elise Miller-Hooks
Professor & Hazel Chair in Infrastructure Engineering
George Mason University

Secure and functioning civil infrastructure systems are of paramount importance to society. To ensure that effective services can be provided in a disaster’s aftermath enabling society to recover, agencies charged with designing, constructing, managing and operating these systems must invest in measures that prevent or mitigate the effects of disaster incidents and less major disruptions. This talk will describe developed mathematical tools for quantifying the maximum resilience level of transportation networks and simultaneously determining the optimal set of mitigation, preparedness and recovery actions necessary to achieve this level. Transportation networks are interconnected with other critical lifelines, including power, telecommunications, water and wastewater. Together, they support societal functions, such as the provision of healthcare, within building infrastructure networks. Ongoing research in this area of interdependency characterization in resilience quantification for transportation and infrastructure-based societal systems through stochastic modeling will also be presented.

About the speaker

Professor Elise Miller-Hooks

Dr. Elise Miller-Hooks holds the Bill and Eleanor Hazel Endowed Chair in Infrastructure Engineering in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering at George Mason University. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Miller-Hooks served as Program Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Civil Infrastructure Systems Program in the Engineering (ENG) Directorate, lead Program Officer for the Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP) solicitation shared by the Computer and Information Science & Engineering (CISE), ENG, and Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorates, and a cognizant program officer on her division’s Smart and Connected Communities (i.e. Smart Cities) initiative. She has also served on the faculties of the University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University and Duke University. Dr. Miller-Hooks received her Ph.D. (1997) and M.S. (1994) degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas – Austin and B.S. summa cum laude in Civil Engineering from Lafayette College (1992). She has expertise in: mathematical modeling and optimization for transportation systems; multi-hazard civil infrastructure resilience quantification; disaster planning and response, e.g. urban search and rescue, building and regional evacuation and sheltering, and crowd modeling; intermodal passenger and freight transport; real-time routing and fleet management; paratransit, ridesharing and bikeways; stochastic and dynamic network algorithms; and collaborative and multi-objective decision-making. Her research program has been funded by numerous agencies, including, for example, NSF, European Commission, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, I-95 Corridor Coalition, and various agencies and companies. Dr. Miller-Hooks has authored approximately 140 articles and reports, and over 190 conference presentations and invited lectures. She serves on the editorial boards of Transportation Science (Associate Editor), Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems, and Transportation Research Part B, and is Chair of the TRB Transportation Network Modeling Committee, founding Co-Chair of the TRB Task Force on Emergency Evacuation, and past president of the INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) Transportation Science and Logistics Society (TSL) and the Women in OR/MS Forum (WORMS).

The Civil Engineering seminar series is open to the University community and region.
This seminar is hosted by Professor Brian Park.

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Lydia Abebe, Ph.D.: Household Water Treatment Technologies: Evaluation, Practice and Policy

Friday, April 14th
Noon, in Thornton Hall D221

Lydia Abebe, Ph.D.
Focus Area Lead and
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

The WHO International Scheme to Evaluate Household Water Treatment Technologies (Scheme) was established in 2013 with the aim to guide WHO Member States and procuring UN Agencies in the selection of technologies. Concurrently, WHO is embarking on efforts to ensure that results are considered and used by procurement and regulatory authorities, and to strengthen the capacity of resource constrained countries to regulate and evaluate household water treatment. This presentation will provide an example of how to adapt the scheme to evaluate technologies in the context of a research laboratory. In addition to the research context, an example of the Scheme capacity building activities in Ethiopia that aim to: strengthen regulation, facilitate assessment of local products and conduct field monitoring and evaluation of HWT will be presented. The presentation will conclude with addressing the following questions: What are the unique challenges of adapting HWTS microbial reduction evaluation in the context of laboratories with different capacities? What are some opportunities for improving the Scheme to promote correct and consistent evaluation of HWT?
About the speaker

Lydia Abebe joined the Water Institute in 2016 as the Health Systems and Healthy Environments Focus Area Lead. She is also a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Environmental Sciences & Engineering at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. As focus area lead, she works at the intersection of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) in health care facilities – with an emphasis on the links between science, policy, and practice, in both developed and developing countries. Her interests include developing and evaluating technologies; health system activities on water and sanitation; antimicrobial resistance surveillance; and monitoring and impact evaluation of interventions. She has worked in Ethiopia, Mali, Switzerland, and South Africa. She contributes to the WaSH in Health Care Facilities Evidence Generation and Monitoring Task Teams co-lead by WHO and UNICEF. She received her doctorate in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2013 from the University of Virginia.

The Civil Engineering seminar series is open to the University community and region.
This seminar is hosted by Professor Jim Smith.

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Colonel Jason Kelly discusses US Army Corps of Engineers

Friday, March 31st
Noon, in Thornton Hall D221

Colonel Kelly will discuss the roles and responsibilities of the United States Army Corps of Engineers in relation to national civil works and military construction projects, environmental engineering regulation, national watershed strategies, public/private partnerships, and future industry trends. The second portion will focus specifically on Norfolk District projects and opportunities to work with the Corps.


The Civil Engineering seminar series is open to the University community and region.
This seminar is hosted by Professor Brian Smith.

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David Sedlak, Ph.D.: The Next Urban Water Revolutions: A Path for Avoiding Water Scarcity

Tuesday, March 28th
4PM, in Clark Hall 108

World Water Event for EVSC UG and CEE Environmental Seminar Series

David Sedlak, Ph.D.
Plato Malozemoff Professor and Co-director of Berkeley Water Center
Director of Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering (IESE)
University of California at Berkeley

Over the past 2,500 years, three technological revolutions have made it possible to quench the thirst of cities, control waterborne diseases and eliminate the pollutants that fouled urban waterways.  Water-stressed cities are currently making large investments in new, centralized approaches for obtaining drinking water that can be considered as a fourth urban water revolution.  But this may not be good enough.  Ultimately, challenges associated with climate change, sea-level rise and urbanization may create a need for yet another revolution.  The best approach for responding to these challenges is still unclear, but distributed water treatment technologies, managed natural systems and more holistic urban water management systems all have important roles to play in a fifth urban water revolution.

Professor Sedlak’s research focuses on fate of chemical contaminants, with the long-term goal of developing cost-effective, safe, and sustainable systems to manage water resources. He is particularly interested in the development of local sources of water. His research has addressed water reuse–the practice of using municipal wastewater effluent to sustain aquatic ecosystems and augment drinking water supplies–as well as the treatment and use of urban runoff to contaminated groundwater form contaminated industrial sites as water supplies.

In recent years, his research on the fate of wastewater-derived contaminants has received considerable attention. He began this research in 1996 when he developed simple methods for measuring steroid hormones in wastewater. Since that time, he and his students have studied the fate of hormones, pharmaceuticals, toxic disinfection byproducts and other chemicals. His research team has also studied approaches for remediating contaminated soil and groundwater by in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) and advanced oxidation processes.

In addition to his laboratory and field research, Sedlak is interested in the developing new approaches for managing the urban water cycle. He is the author of “Water 4.0“, a book that examines the ways in which we can gain insight into current water issues by understanding the history of urban water systems.

For more about Professor Sedlak:

This seminar series is open to the University community and region.
This CEE Environmental Seminar host is Professor Teresa Culver.

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Wenqiong Tu: Role of Mechanics and Computation in Support of Automotive Problems

Friday, March 17th
Noon, in Thornton Hall D221

Wenqiong Tu, Ph.D.
FORD Onsite CAE Engineer
Engineering Technology Associates, Inc.

Role of Mechanics and Computation in Support of Automotive Problems

Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) is playing, and will continue to play, an important role in the automobile industry since CAE analysis has been proven to be a realistic way to reduce experiments and accelerate product development cycle. To be a good CAE engineer, in-depth of understanding of mechanics and good computational skills are critically important. I have worked seven months at FORD’s Safety Core Department. The knowledge in mechanics and computation I had gained through my PhD study enables me to solve diverse automotive problems and to further expose myself to more challenging tasks. This, in turn, provides more opportunities for personal and professional development. In this presentation, I will talk about three major assignments I have conducted. The first one is kinematic behavior testing for vehicle suspension system; the second one is full-vehicle analysis based on modular approach, and the third one is process automation of tire positioning via perl language.

Bio Sketch

Wenqiong Tu obtained his PhD in 2016 in Applied Mechanics in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Virginia. Currently, he is a FORD Onsite CAE engineer through Engineering Technology Associates, Inc (ETA) at FORD global core safety department and his major responsibilities are to conduct full-vehicle CAE crash analysis and develop simulation tools. During his PhD study, his research was focused on the study of damage evolution and optimization in heterogeneous materials via cohesive zone-based finite volume micromechanics under the supervision of Professor Marek-Jerzy Pindera. Wenqiong earned his MS degree in Solid Mechanics in 2011 and BS degree in Engineering Mechanics in 2008, both from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China. He also conducted a six-month internship with DS SIMULIA in Minneapolis office during June through November 2015, focused on Abaqus applications. During his PhD study at the University of Virginia Wenqiong had published five archival journal papers and three refereed conference proceedings papers.

The Civil Engineering seminar series is open to the University community and region.
This seminar is hosted by Professor Marek-Jerzy Pindera.

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Fotis Kopsaftopoulos: Towards Future Intelligent Structures and Self-aware Cyber-Physical Systems

Wednesday, March 8th
10:45 – Noon, Rice Hall Room 242

Link Lab Seminar

Fotis Kopsaftopoulos
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Structures and Composites Laboratory
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Stanford University


Future intelligent mechanical, aerospace and civil structural systems will be able to “feel”, “think”, and “react” in real time based on high-resolution state-sensing, awareness, and self- diagnostic capabilities. They will be able to sense and observe phenomena at unprecedented length and time scales allowing for superior performance, adaptability, resilience, increased safety, optimal control, reduced maintenance costs, and complete life-cycle monitoring and management. Towards this end, current research efforts aim at the development of novel technologies that will lead to the next generation of intelligent self-sensing self-aware structures and cyber-physical systems that can sense the surrounding environment, interpret the sensing information in real time, determine their actual operating state and health condition in complex dynamic environments, and make optimal decisions for control and mitigation in the face of uncertainty.

In an effort to address these goals in a unified way, this talk will present a novel framework for the development of intelligent self-sensing self-diagnostic structural systems inspired by the unprecedented sensing and awareness capabilities of biological systems. This framework incorporates (i) bio-inspired distributed multi-modal micro-sensor networks, (ii) data-driven methods for the global modeling and identification of structural systems under varying operating states and uncertainty, and (iii) integrated state awareness and structural health monitoring (SHM) approaches for inferring the actual operating and structural health state. Prototype intelligent systems with embedded sensing and awareness capabilities will be presented with special emphasis placed on the novel concept of “fly-by-feel” aerial vehicles. Distributed micro-sensors in the form of stretchable sensor networks are used to provide the sensing capabilities, while stochastic system identification, statistical signal processing, machine learning and SHM diagnostic techniques are employed for the accurate interpretation of the sensing data and subsequent determination the operating state and structural health condition. The ultimate goal of this presentation is to provide a concise overview of the main research developments towards the next generation of intelligent self-aware cyber-physical systems that can “feel”, “think”, and “react”.

About the speaker:

Dr. Fotis Kopsaftopoulos is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Structures and Composites Laboratory in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. He received his Diploma and Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from University of Patras, Greece, on the topic of stochastic system identification and time series methods for structural health monitoring (SHM). His research background and interests lie within the generic context of cyber-physical systems and span the areas of intelligent structural systems with embedded sensing and awareness capabilities, structural health monitoring (SHM), stochastic identification of dynamical systems, bio-inspired “fly-by-feel” aerial vehicles, and integration of data-based with multi-scale physics-based methods for “smart” data analysis. Dr. Kopsaftopoulos has participated in various national, international and industrially supported research projects (AFOSR, NASA, NSF, ARPA-e, Boeing, Airbus, RUAG Space). He is a member of the Organizing Committee of the International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring (IWSHM) and serves as an Associate Editor of the Structural Health Monitoring international journal.

For more information, please see this flyer.

The Link Lab seminar series is open to the University community and region.
This seminar is hosted by Professor Cody Fleming.

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Arsalan Heydarian: Lights, building, action: The impact of occupant behavior on building energy consumption

Monday, March 6th
10:45 – Noon, Rice Hall Room 242

Link Lab Seminar

Arsalan Heydarian
Postdoctoral Candidate
Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Southern California (USC)


Reports from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and other energy-related organizations around the world indicate that building energy consumption accounts for up to 30-40% of the total energy consumption in the United States and worldwide. Previous studies have shown that occupant behavior and interactions with building systems can significantly influence the total energy consumption in buildings. However, there exists a large gap in the current scientific approaches to quantitatively identify and model the influence of occupant behavior on the building energy consumption. In order to address this limitation, in my research, I (1) collected occupant-related information through immersive virtual environments (IVEs), (2) identified the factors (e.g., initial lighting setting, personality, control options, etc.) that influence occupant lighting preferences and their interactions with lighting and shading systems, and (3) integrated behavioral models into building performance simulations (BPS) in order to better identify the influence of occupants on the building energy consumption. By having access to occupant information and behavioral models, we can reduce the uncertainties related to building energy consumption and move towards integrating user-centered considerations in the design and operation of the future cyber-physical systems in order to increase their flexibility, adaptability, and resilience.

About the speaker:

Arsalan Heydarian is a Ph.D. candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Southern California (USC). He received his bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. He also holds two master’s degrees in Construction Engineering and Management and Systems Architecting and Engineering from Virginia Tech and USC, respectively. In his master’s thesis, he introduced a computer vision-based approach for automatically detecting, tracking, and recognizing actions of construction equipment in order to automatically perform productivity analysis of construction operations. In his Ph.D., he focused on investigating how the design and operation of buildings could be improved by centering them around occupant preferences and behaviors while simultaneously reducing the overall energy consumption. Arsalan has published 7 peer-reviewed journal papers and over 10 peer-reviewed conference papers.

For more information, please see this flyer.

The Link Lab seminar series is open to the University community and region.
This seminar is hosted by Professor Jon Goodall.

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Michael Plampin: Multiphase CO2 Attenuation in Shallow Aquifers

Friday, March 3rd
Noon, in Thornton Hall D221

Michael R. Plampin
National Research Program, U.S. Geological Survey
Reston, Virginia

Multiphase CO2 Attenuation in Shallow Aquifers

To assess the risks involved with leakage of stored carbon dioxide (CO2) from deep geologic formations into the shallow subsurface, it is crucial to understand how multiphase CO2 plumes are likely to evolve within shallow aquifers. Intermediate-scale laboratory experiments are ideal for investigating multiphase evolution processes, because they allow for the collection of higher-resolution data under better-controlled conditions than are possible in the field. For this study, a large, effectively two-dimensional, tank was constructed, densely instrumented, and filled with sand and water to mimic a portion of a shallow aquifer with multiple geologic facies. Lateral water flow was induced, water containing dissolved CO2 was injected, and the multiphase evolution of the CO2 plume was monitored through time via saturation, electrical conductivity, and temperature measurements from automated sensors. In addition, aqueous phase samples were collected and analysed for dissolved CO2 concentrations using an ion chromatograph, and water and gas phase outflow measurements were taken using computer-interfaced scales and flow meters, respectively. Two different sand combinations were used in separate experiments to assess the relative effects of different types of heterogeneities on the transport of CO2 through the system. Experimental results were then compared to simulations performed with the Finite Element Heat and Mass Transfer (FEHM) multiphase flow simulation code. After minimal adjustments to the important parameters, the model was able to accurately capture some, but not all, of the CO2 attenuation processes. This indicates that FEHM is potentially useful for predicting CO2 migration through shallow aquifers, but that the assumptions upon which it operates may limit its application.

The Civil Engineering seminar series is open to the University community and region.
This seminar is hosted by Professor Andres Clarens.

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Derya Aksaray: Resilient Autonomy via Formal Methods

Friday, March 3rd
10:45 – Noon, Rice Hall Room 242

Link Lab Seminar

Derya Aksaray
Postdoctoral Associate
Computer Science and
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT


Autonomous systems are increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives. For example, we envision drones to be used in security, delivery, mapping, and surveying applications, self-driving cars to share the roadways with human-driven vehicles, and service robots to assist humans in houses, hotels, or hospitals. Such autonomous systems are enabled by the recent developments in computing, manufacturing, and networking technologies. However, continuous progress in autonomy faces several challenges. For instance, such systems usually operate in dynamic environments in close proximity to humans or other robotic systems. Accordingly, safety guarantees are required to ensure that catastrophic events do not occur, especially near humans. Furthermore, resilience becomes a critical system property for preventing severe performance loss and recovering performance in the face of uncertainty.

In this talk, I will discuss the use of formal methods in developing resilient autonomy. We will consider dynamical systems, which operate under disturbances and need to satisfy a desired specification (e.g., reachability, safety, persistence). First, I will present how to generate online control policies that guarantee the satisfaction of the desired specification. Then, I will discuss cases where the desired specification is not achievable due to some disturbance. For such cases, I will introduce how to formulate relaxed specifications and propose algorithms for generating control policies that satisfy minimal relaxations. I will then talk about how to use reinforcement learning with formal methods to learn control policies for the robust satisfaction of desired specifications. Finally, I will discuss the application of the proposed methods to other complex systems such as cyber-physical systems and human-robot teams.

About the speaker:

Derya Aksaray is a post-doctoral associate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT. Before joining MIT, she was a post-doctoral researcher at Boston University. She received her Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014. She received her M.S. and B.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2011 and from Middle East Technical University, Turkey in 2008, respectively. Her research interests primarily lie in the areas of control theory, formal methods, and machine learning. Recently, her work is mainly focused on achieving safe and resilient operation of autonomous robotic systems.

For more information, please see this flyer.

The Link Lab seminar series is open to the University community and region.
This seminar is hosted by Professor John Lach.

See EVENTS for seminar details at