Rachel Adams, recent graduate of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, examines a structure in Nepal, following the 2015 Gorkha earthquake.

Earthquake Spectra, a leading journal on geotechnical engineering, recently published an article by Ben Mason, associate professor of geotechnical engineering in Oregon State University’s College of Engineering, recent graduate Rachel Adams, and colleagues from Caltech and Nepal. The article, Observations and simulations of basin effects in the Kathmandu Valley during the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake sequence, describes the Kathmandu Valley geology, analyzes motion from the initial earthquake and aftershocks, and identifies different factors responsible for the unusual ground motion that occurred in the region.

While publishing as a co-author is an accomplishment on its own, Adams had other notable achievements while at Oregon State.

During her graduate work, Adams accompanied Mason, her major advisor, on two research trips to Nepal. Their first trip occurred on the one-year anniversary of the Gorkha earthquake where Adams and Mason attended a workshop – with attendees from throughout the world – focused on reconstruction efforts. Through the gathering, they connected with Nepalese engineering professionals from government, academia, and industry who were eager to stay up to date on the best practices for their field.

“There is a large desire to improve education for engineering students and professionals, and consequently make improvements to infrastructure design and construction,” said Adams.

Through connections made with Nepalese colleagues, Mason and Adams identified topics for an earthquake engineering workshop, aimed at sharing current best practices on U.S. geotechnical engineering methods. In September of 2016, Mason, Adams, and researchers from other U.S. universities, presented the workshop at the National Society for Earthquake Technology – Nepal in Kathmandu.

“It was so valuable to interact with the engineering professionals in Nepal, and see their unique challenges for site investigations and construction in the very dense Kathmandu Valley,” said Adams. “We were there not only to teach and help to improve conditions, but to learn from them as well.”

Adams, who was an Evans Fellow in Oregon State’s Humanitarian Engineering program, participated in the Nepal activities with funding from the Evans Family Fellowship. The program supports research and travel for graduate work in humanitarian engineering through a generous donation from Dick and Gretchen Evans.

Much of the research in the Earthquake Spectra article employed data from previous trips to Nepal by Mason and the article’s lead author, Domniki Asimaki of Caltech. Together, they collected perishable data immediately following the earthquake – in an activity known as earthquake reconnaissance. As part of her graduate research, Adams worked with Mason and Asimaki on processing and reducing the data and making subsequent observations and interpretations. Essentially, the team investigated how the geology of the Kathmandu Valley changed the recorded earthquake motions, which is particularly relevant for the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

For Adams, who began her academic career at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, the quest for knowledge and helping others took her to unexpected places.

“It was amazing to be able to be submerged in a culture so different from the U.S., but also discover that the people there had many of the same goals as us,” said Adams. “They have proved to be an extremely resilient community, which is a great example for the Pacific Northwest with the impending Cascadia Subduction Zone event.”

Earthquake Spectra, the professional journal of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), is published quarterly in both printed and online editions in February, May, August, and November. EERI established Earthquake Spectra with the purpose of improving the practice of earthquake hazards mitigation, preparedness, and recovery.

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.

During October, 22 graduate students in transportation engineering traveled to Washington where they participated in two conferences. On Friday, Oct. 14, they attended the PacTrans Annual Meeting on the University of Washington campus and on Saturday, Oct. 15 the Region 10 University Transportation Center (UTC) student conference. At both events, students gained professional experience by attending technical sessions, networking with regional transportation professionals, and presenting in hybrid poster sessions.

PacTrans is a consortium of transportation professionals and educators from five universities located around the Pacific Northwest. It focuses on using technological advances to develop data-driven, sustainable solutions for the diverse transportation needs of the region. This year, Haizhong Wang, assistant professor in transportation engineering served as the OSU representative on the organizing committee for the annual meeting, which had 217 registered participants plus additional attendees joining throughout the day.

Through the UTC program, the U.S. Department of Transportation awards grants to universities across the U.S. to advance the state-of-the-art in transportation research and develop the next generation of transportation professionals.

The Region 10 UTC student conference is unique in that it is planned entirely for students, by students. The goal is to provide a conference geared toward students’ needs, particularly those who plan to enter engineering practice following graduation. Zachary Barlow, a second year master’s student working with David Hurwitz, associate professor of transportation engineering and associate director of PacTrans, served on the conference organizing committee. OSU ITE student chapter members – led by graduate student David Covey, second year master’s student working with Erdem Coleri, assistant professor in infrastructure materials and transportation engineering – also contributed to the success of the trip by coordinating travel logistics for the large group.

OSU earned high marks at the student conference with Hisham Jashami, a second-year PhD student in transportation engineering who also works with Hurwitz, receiving first place in the student poster competition. The awards were determined by a voting committee comprised of Washington State Department of Transportation employees and student participants.

Thanks to events such as these, OSU students have impactful, experiential learning opportunities, which contribute to their success while in school – and beyond.

Masoud Ghodrat Abadi
Ph.D. Student Masoud Ghodrat Abadi
Zach Barlow
M.S. Student Zach Barlow

Two CCE graduate students in transportation engineering have been named to standing committees of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). Ph.D. student Masoud Ghodrat Abadi is a member of the Committee on Education and Training and M.S. student Zach Barlow is a member of the Committee on Transportation History.

“Attaining formal membership on a standing committee sponsored by the Transportation Research Board is a significant recognition for any transportation professional,” said Associate Professor David Hurwitz. “The recent appointment of the two students is indicative of the strength of their early career performance.”

The mission of the TRB is to promote innovation and progress in transportation through research. Standing committees identify research needs and priorities, review papers, encourage the incorporation of research findings into practice, and develop special programs such as conferences and workshops.

The Committee on Transportation History promotes the importance of preserving important historical archives among transportation professionals. It also serves as a forum for historians, curators, and governmental archivists to exchange information and advance the preservation of transportation history.

“It is a privilege to work alongside professionals with diverse talents who are all committed to preserving and documenting transportation history for future generations,” said Barlow. “As the youngest member of the committee, I am excited to learn from the more experienced members and gain a greater appreciation for the multi-disciplinary nature of the transportation industry.”

The Committee on Education and Training works to improve communications among the academic community, the private and public sectors, and governmental agencies and works to develop improved educational offerings at all academic levels.

“It is a great honor to serve as a young member on the committee,” said Abadi. “It is also a tremendous opportunity for me to gain valuable experience through active collaboration with experts and professionals in the field of transportation education.”

Abadi and Barlow are advised by Hurwitz and are part of the Hurwitz Research Group in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering.

Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering graduate students Dylan Anderson and Rachel Vogt have been awarded 2014 Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships. The highly competitive national awards are given as part of the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP), which was started in 1991 to attract qualified students to the fields of transportation education and research, and advance transportation workforce development.

Advised by OSU associate professor Katharine Hunter-Zaworski, Anderson is developing a manual to improve safety at rail public transportation platforms. The research, conducted under the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), will assist transit agencies to prevent and minimize public rail transit safety incidents.

Vogt, who is advised by OSU assistant professor Haizhong Wang, is working with the Oregon Department of Transportation to understand and address questions related to decreasing fuel tax  combined with increasing infrastructure costs. As Oregon continues to explore a Road User Charge (RUC), her research will focus on how various rate structures and implementation strategies may impact different socio-economic groups and regions of the state.

Approximately 150 to 200 Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships are awarded each year based on funding availability. Since its inception, the program has awarded over 2,000 Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships.

For more information about the program, visit the DDETFP website.

Annika O’Dea, a coastal and ocean engineering graduate student in the Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering, has been awarded the prestigious Fulbright scholarship, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars announced earlier this month. O’Dea, who will graduate from OSU with a master’s degree in civil engineering, will use the award to travel to Senegal and research coastal evolution and coastal hazards in the region.

“It is a great opportunity and I was really excited when I found out I had been named to the program,” O’Dea said. “West Africa faces a lot of erosion issues and has been impacted by rising sea-levels. The coast is heavily populated and is constantly changing. They are losing roads and buildings and the area will only get worse as sea-levels continue to rise.”

O’Dea’s research, which starts in October and is funded for one year, will look at how the coast has changed in recent years and predict how future changes in sea-levels could impact the area.

She learned she received the prominent award in late April as it was the culmination of a lengthy application process. Working with the OSU Fulbright Scholar Program and advisors Laurence Becker (associate professor, Geosciences) and Nick Fleury (head advisor, International Degrees), O’Dea submitted her application to OSU for review in September before submitting to the national organization in October.

While at OSU, O’Dea has worked with OSU CCE associate professor Merrick Haller on the nearshore impact of wave energy extraction and will present her thesis in a few weeks.

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Since its inception in 1946, approximately 310,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program.

Jordan Beamer, Ph.D. candidate, was one of six students selected for the prestigious 2014 CUAHSI Pathfinder Fellowship. This fellowship provides funding for students to travel to another location in order to pursue collaborative work related to their thesis project.

Jordan’s PhD work focuses on quantifying coastal freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska, and Prince William Sound in particular. He will be traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska, in order to collaborate with Dr. Anthony Arendt of the Geophysical Institute on the topic of glacial meltwater contributions to coastal runoff. Jordan is supervised

Thomas Mosier, Ph.D. candidate in WRE / MIME (dual major) was one of 12 US students admitted to the Third International Summer School in Glaciology, heldthis month in McCarthy, Alaska. The OSU grad student recently posted an update on his studies at the summer school in the blog “Lindsay in the Arctic,” and describes why his research is focused on the Karakoram and Himalayan Mountains in Asia.

Organized by the University of Alaska, the School brings together top PhD students studying glaciers and glacial processes and exposes them to top international faculty in the field. Thomas is supervised by Dr. David Hill, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Dr. Kendra Sharp, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.