Congratulations! The Oregon State University student team of Nathan Jones and Alessandra Hossley took first place, earning the Mohr-Circle Award in the 2017 GeoPrediction competition at the annual meeting of the ASCE Geo-Institute. Oregon State has won first place three out of the past four years in the competition, taking home the first place trophy in 2014, 2016, and 2017.

The objective of the GeoPrediction competition is for student teams to develop an accurate prediction of geotechnical behavior given detailed information regarding subsurface, boundary, and initial conditions, as well as the geotechnical, structural, and hydraulic loading. After developing their prediction, student teams present their methodology and findings to a panel of judges comprised of geotechnical practitioners and faculty.

2017 GeoPrediction Competition
The student team of Nathan Jones and Alessandra Hossley took first place, earning the Mohr-Circle Award in the 2017 GeoPrediction competition at the annual meeting of the ASCE Geo-Institute.

“The 2017 GeoPrediction challenged student teams, consisting of one graduate and one undergraduate student, to predict the time-settlement performance and lateral deformation of a highway embankment constructed over soft, compressible clays, using surcharge pre-loading and prefabricated vertical drains,” said Jones, a master’s student in geotechnical engineering. “Estimates of embankment settlement were made at 10, 20, and 30 days after construction began, while lateral displacements of the embankment toe were made to 50-feet below the existing ground surface.”

Advised by Armin Stuedlein, associate professor in geotechnical engineering, Jones and fellow team member Hossley, who is pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and forest engineering, began working on their prediction in September 2016 and submitted their detailed report in January. OSU was one of eight teams selected to attend the conference and compete for the Mohr-Circle Award.

“This was my first time participating in the GeoPrediction competition and I enjoyed the experience of synthesizing a variety of data for the prediction as well as the overall experience of presenting at a professional conference,” said Hossley.

University of Texas at Arlington placed second and the Middle Eastern Technical University of Ankara, Turkey placed third.

View the student team research poster.

InterACTWEL
The INFEWS grant will fund development of a decision support tool for adaptive management of food, energy, and water.

In collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded Oregon State University a $1.5 million grant. This funding is part of the new NSF-USDA INFEWS program focused on accelerating discovery and innovation at the nexus of food, energy, and water systems. The project – a collaboration between Oregon State and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) – is led by Principal Investigator Meghna Babbar-Sebens, assistant professor in water resources engineering and the Eric H.I. and Janice Hoffman Faculty Scholar. At OSU, Babbar-Sebens is collaborating with Ganti Murthy, associate professor in biological and ecological engineering, Jenna Tilt, assistant professor in geography, and Jeff Reimer, associate professor of applied economics. At IUPUI, Babbar-Sebens is working with Snehasis Mukhopadhyay and Arjan Durresi, both professors of computer and information science.

“We are excited to lead this effort that brings researchers from engineering, social science, and computer science to develop a state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure for adaptation planning in food, energy, and water sectors,” said Babbar-Sebens. “As part of this project, we will develop an intelligent, secure, and human computation-based decision support technology, InterACTWEL, which will enable local and regional community actors to securely network, coordinate, and co-identify robust adaptation decisions to a variety of uncertain, unanticipated, and unstable stresses. Stresses encompass chronic and sudden changes such as droughts, declining groundwater levels, new agricultural or environmental policies, climate change, and more.”

Research in this area is critical to the programmatic goals of the National Academies, USDA, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, all of whom have called for research on improved decision support methods and technologies to address grand challenges on sustainability and human adaptation in multiple sectors.

Learn more about the NSF-USDA INFEWS ongoing research and Babbar-Sebens’ research group.

Congratulations to transportation engineering graduate students Jason Anderson and Masoud Ghodrat Abadi. The Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (Pactrans) formally recognized Anderson as an Outstanding Student of the Year and Abadi as the winner of the Michael Kyte Award at the Transportation Research Board 96th Annual Meeting.

Anderson is a graduate research assistant in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering. Previously, he completed his bachelor of science and master of science at Oregon State and is now in the first year of his doctoral studies. Anderson’s current research interests include transportation safety through use of behavior modeling and network design and resiliency using operations research methods.

“Jason’s determination and skill have contributed to the success of many of the projects that he has worked on,” said David Hurwitz, associate professor of transportation engineering. “For example, in a recent study, he implemented statistical techniques to determine where large-truck crashes were likely to occur in their relation to existing parking facilities on U.S. 97.”

Ghodrat Abadi is a third year transportation engineering Ph.D. student and currently serves as a graduate research assistant in the Driving and Bicycling Research Laboratory.

“Masoud embodies all of the characteristics expected in a recipient of this prestigious award,” said Hurwitz. “The Michael Kyte award places a particular emphasis on contributions to transportation engineering education, and he has repeatedly demonstrated exemplary performance leading individual lectures in civil engineering classes.”

Since joining Hurwitz’s research group, Ghodrat Abadi has served as the lead graduate student on three significant research projects including an NSF-funded study to develop conceptual traffic signal questions founded in qualitative engineering education research methods, an ODOT-funded study to design an improved red light extension system for isolated signalized intersections, and a PacTrans-funded study to evaluate conflicts between trucks and bikes in loading zones in urban environments.

Ghodrat Abadi is a current member of the TRB Committee on Transportation Education and Training, vice president of the OSU ITE Student Chapter, and served as a co-chair for the 2015 Region X Student conference.

PacTrans, of which Oregon State is a member, is a consortium of transportation professionals and educators from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and is the Regional University Transportation Center (UTC) for Federal Region 10. Through the UTC program, the USDOT awards grants to universities across the U.S. to advance state-of-the-art transportation research and develop the next generation of transportation professionals – of which Anderson and Ghodrat Abadi are well on their way to becoming.

Merrick HallerMerrick Haller, professor of coastal and ocean engineering and associate head of graduate affairs, has been awarded a 5-year, $1.4 million research grant from the Office of Naval Research to investigate hazardous tidal currents in coastal inlets. Under the grant, “MINERS: Multiple Inlet & Estuary Remote Sensing,” Haller and David Honegger, postdoctoral scholar in the Nearshore Remote Sensing Group, will collect radar observations at seven inlets and estuaries across the U.S. for the purpose of better understanding the dynamic current fronts that develop on the ebbing and flooding tides and how they impact the U.S. Navy’s undersea acoustics operations.

“This is an exciting project for us for several reasons,” said Haller. “Navigational inlets are dynamic places that are often dangerous for fishing boats and cargo ships, so our observations will contribute to improved maritime safety. The U.S. Navy is also interested in these data because they show how fresh water coming out of the estuaries interacts with the salty ocean water forming internal tidal bores. These highly turbulent features are hazards to underwater vehicles and disrupt underwater acoustic communication systems.”

Haller joined Oregon State in 2001. He teaches hydraulics, coastal engineering, and ocean wave mechanics. His research program centers around the remote sensing of waves and currents in the nearshore ocean in order to better understand and forecast coastal hazards such as rip currents and breaking waves. Other efforts relate to the interaction between waves and wave energy converters and quantifying the downstream effects of wave energy arrays.

2016 ITE Transportation Education Council Innovation in Education Award At the August 2016 Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) international annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., four members of the ITE University Transportation Curriculum Project (UTCP) including David Hurwitz, associate professor in transportation engineering, received the Transportation Education Council Innovation in Education award. Hurwitz, along with project members Kristen Sanford Bernhardt, Rod Turochy, and Rhonda Young received the national honor in recognition of their innovative work over the last seven years on challenges related to undergraduate transportation engineering education.

The group tackled their project by identifying barriers to the adoption of improved and innovative teaching methods, developing course materials, and building of a community of practice for transportation educators throughout the country. The group received their award not only for their innovative methods but also for their perseverance in absence of a funding stream.

“It has been a personally and professionally rewarding experience working with my colleagues, Drs. Young, Turochy, and Sanford Bernhardt, to produce an educational impact worthy of national recognition,” said Hurwitz.

University-based transportation engineering education plays an important role in the recruitment and development of transportation professionals. Through their efforts, the UTCP is working to attract and retain undergraduate transportation engineering students and better prepare them for practice or graduate school.

Big Beam 2016Oregon State University earned third place among competitors throughout North America at the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Big Beam Contest. The contest objective is for student teams to fabricate and test a precast/prestressed concrete beam with the help of local PCI members. The beam must be made primarily of concrete without any trusses, arches, or other non-flexural members. Prizes are awarded to the top 20 performers in consideration of efficient design, highest load capacity, and other categories.

The Oregon State team from the College of Engineering’s School of Civil and Construction Engineering was comprised of Tyler Oathes, Cody Tibbits, Neil Schweitzer, Taylor Kiefel, Anh Nguyen, and Jonathan Kopp with faculty advisor Keith Kaufman, and PCI producer Knife River – Prestress of Harrisburg, Ore.

Congratulations to the students on an outstanding performance and thank you to PCI producer Knife River for your continued support of student learning at Oregon State.

 

Shane Brown

As an engineering professional who spent five years in private practice prior to earning his Ph.D., Associate Professor Shane Brown knows first-hand about the skills, concepts, and qualities needed to thrive as a practicing engineer. In his research, Brown aims to identify new ways to help students understand the fundamental concepts they will need to succeed in the engineering workplace.

Brown, who earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Oregon State, joined CCE in 2014 after teaching at Washington State University and managing projects at private firms. His research examines why particular engineering concepts are harder to learn than others and how educational institutions can develop environments that facilitate understanding, particularly within solid and fluid mechanics and transportation. He also explores differences in ways of knowing and how core concepts are used in engineering practice.

Currently, Brown is working with 20 researchers and engineering instructors from different colleges and universities to discover new teaching approaches for the course Mechanics of Materials. Specifically, the project will help students acquire a deeper understanding of fundamental engineering concepts such as stress, strain, and equilibrium – concepts that play a vital role in the safety of the built environment. “Theoretical contributions related to learning fundamental engineering concepts and the link between education and practice are vital to preparing students for an innovative and creative workforce,” said Brown.

In another effort to enhance instruction, Brown serves as co-principal investigator for ESTEME@OSU, a project supported by the Nation Science Foundation which is working to broadly implement innovative evidence-based instructional practices – specifically, interactive engagement in lecture and formal cooperative learning – into core biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics undergraduate courses. Last year, Brown also led the development of a new Engineering Education research program in CCE. Engineering Education offers master of science, master of engineering, and doctoral degrees and focuses on understanding and improving student learning in engineering and better aligning engineering education with engineering practice.

In recognition of these many contributions to student learning, Brown received the OSU Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in September 2015. Among the reasons he was selected for the honor include his exceptional effort to ensure the quality of the students’ classroom experience and his direct and significant impact upon and involvement with students.

In addition to obtaining a thorough understanding of the fundamental concepts of their field, Brown said, “I recommend that students meet professionals. Ask them what they do to be successful. Be an advocate for yourself.”

Geo_Video_0316 (1 of 1)Geo_0216 (2 of 2) copy

CCE student teams won first place in two competitions at the Geotechnical and Structural Engineering Congress held February 14-17, 2016 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Mentored by faculty member Ben Mason, the GeoVideo student team of Youssef Bougataya, David Bailey, Rachel Adams, and Sharoo Shrestha placed first for their video, “Soil Structure Interaction During Earthquakes.” The GeoVideo competition received 10 entries with six invited to present at the congress.

“During earthquake shaking, buildings interact with the soil they sit atop, and the soil interacts with the buildings it supports, which is a phenomenon called seismic soil-structure interaction. During many seismic design scenarios, the potential effects of seismic soil-structure interaction, regardless of whether the effects are beneficial, neutral, or detrimental, are ignored,” said Mason. “The students did an excellent job communicating why seismic soil-structure interaction effects are important using a table top demonstration. I look forward to showing their video during my classes.”

In the GeoPrediction competition, the CCE team of Bougataya and Nathan Jones won first place out of nine presenting teams and 18 international submissions. For the competition, teams were required to predict the deflection profile of a 90-foot-deep, tied-back excavation in downtown Seattle, constructed in 2004. In scoring, the prediction and documentation in the report was worth 75 percent and the presentation of the work was worth 25 percent. The team was advised by CCE faculty member Armin W. Stuedlein and three geotechnical practitioners and professors scored the presentations. Each team had 5 to 10 minutes to present their work and answered technical questions for 5 minutes following presentations. Arizona State University took second place and Middle East Technical University of Ankara, Turkey placed third.

“The students faced tough competition, but worked diligently to study the difficult geology of Seattle and how the history of glaciation impacted the strength and stiffness of the soil being excavated,” said Stuedlein. “According to the lead designer of the deep excavation, OSU’s team produced a better lateral displacement profile than their own models, calibrated with 40 years of experience in that geology!”

The congress was unique this year in that the Geo-Institute (G-I) and Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) came together to create the first-of-its-kind congress by combining both institutes’ annual conferences into one event.

Congratulations to the teams on an excellent job well done!

Andy Truong
Andy Truong

In December, CCE student Andy Truong was named a recipient of the 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Leadership Award. Out of the 328 ASCE student chapters, 12 Student Leadership Awards were awarded – 10 domestic and two international – based on the strength of the nomination form, without regard to region.

The ASCE Student Leadership Award is granted to an ASCE student member who has demonstrated leadership in a chapter through various activities such as serving as an officer, leading special events, and interacting with university administration. During the past three years, Andy has served the chapter in three key officer positions and as co-captain and captain of the ASCE concrete canoe team. In the role of captain, Andy not only introduced an innovative construction technique but also initiated new methods of team communication and organization.

Congratulations to Andy on this outstanding achievement!

As part of its Homecoming festivities, the Oregon State University Alumni Association will recognize CCE alumnus Tom Skoro as an alumni fellow on October 23. Skoro was one of six alumni to receive the distinguished honor.

After graduating from Oregon State in 1981 with a bachelor’s in construction engineering management, Skoro worked continuously in the heavy construction industry, primarily with Kiewit Construction Group. Inc. He has varied construction experience but has specialized in bridge construction, including high-tech segmental construction. Skoro resides in Vancouver, Wash., and is a senior vice president of Kiewit Corporation.

The OSUAA established the alumni fellows program in 1988 to help OSU colleges recognize their eminent alumni. Honorees have distinguished themselves in their professions and communities.