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.”

1015_Spotlight_BorelloAssistant Professor Daniel Borello joined the structural engineering program at CCE in 2014 after earning his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Since I am the product of two teachers, I have always had a passion for education,” said Borello. “I entered college with the goal of becoming a physics teacher, however, my career path changed when I was inspired by the application of physics in structural engineering.”

Today, Borello combines experimental testing and numerical simulations to study the behavior of large structures, particularly steel buildings. “I’ve always been drawn to large structures,” said Borello. His other research interests are in sustainable infrastructure and mitigating the impact of earthquakes through innovative, replaceable structural systems including steel plate shear walls, self-centering systems, and supplemental energy dissipation devices. “By facilitating economical yet resilient materials and systems, I aim to enhance the life cycle and safety of large structures while improving access to such structures in developing countries,” he added.

Borello also aims to enhance access to critical information in the event of a natural disaster. Last year, he served as the primary investigator on a project funded by the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium which proposes to develop a low-cost wireless sensor to assess the condition of bridges following a natural hazard. Using off-the-shelf hardware, Borello will configure sensors to measure structural demands and develop models that will predict damage based on the measurements. The sensor could be widely deployed throughout the Pacific Northwest to provide first responders immediate information on the state of major transportation routes.

In addition to conducting research, Borello teaches Design of Steel Structures to junior and senior students and Advanced Steel Design at the graduate level. Recalling his own first term of his master’s program, Borello advises students to “enjoy the opportunity to spend undivided attention on your research – don’t waste it!”

Borello also encourages undergraduates to get involved with activities and to “reach out to faculty if you need it. We’re here to help you succeed.”

Chris BellA familiar presence in every corner of campus, Associate School Head Chris Bell’s 35-year career at Oregon State has taken him from CCE to the College of Engineering to INTO OSU – and even to Reser Stadium, where he serves as chief marshal of the annual commencement ceremony.

Originally from England, Bell received his Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham. “I’ve been a transportation fanatic since I was eight years old,” said Bell. After earning his doctoral degree, he served as a lecturer at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

“My Ph.D. research was sponsored by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers on the permanent deformation of asphalt pavements,” said Bell. “At the time, the research was more sought after in the U.S. than in the U.K., and through my advisor, I had an opportunity to connect with Gary Hicks at OSU.”

In 1981, Bell joined OSU as a visiting professor in CCE, specializing in highway and transportation engineering. In 1983, he was hired as a regular assistant professor.

After earning a promotion to professor and directing the Transportation Research Institute for six years, Bell transitioned to the College of Engineering in 1997 as an associate dean, where he managed internships, awards, and international programs as well as graduate studies and industry relations. Following 11 years in that role, Bell became the director of academic programs for INTO OSU, an initiative that began in 2008 with a mission to increase the number of international students and to improve the overall level of service for that population. Not long after completing his three-year tenure, INTO OSU succeeded in more than doubling the number of international students, exceeding the university’s goals.

“My job was to take the lead on the academic programs for the INTO OSU program,” said Bell. “It was a gratifying project to work on and it was a really good thing for OSU.”

In 2011, Bell returned to CCE as associate school head, with research interests in pavement materials and design, pavement-vehicle interaction, and truck operations and safety. Soon after his return, OSU was invited to join the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans) – one of 10 Regional University Transportation Centers nationwide – which was established in 2012 with an initial grant of $3.5 million from the US Department of Transportation. Bell is now finishing his term as the PI for OSU’s PacTrans efforts and as a member of the board of directors. “The universities in the PacTrans consortium have contributed heavily in safety and environmental sustainability research to address both regional and national transportation issues,” said Bell.

The current PacTrans project portfolio at OSU spans a variety of focus areas, not just transportation engineering. Examples of this research are the use of mobile lidar to identify potential landslide locations and drones to perform highway bridge inspections.

“I’m excited about what we do in this school – a lot of our research plays into transportation and to making major contributions in civil engineering as a whole,” said Bell.

Through his various roles on campus, Bell will leave a long legacy of outstanding contributions to our students and the university. As he retires in June 2016, be sure to see him one last time as chief marshal, when he leads the commencement procession for thousands of graduates, which in his own words, “is an amazing day with everyone so excited and upbeat about graduating.”

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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!

SURF 2016

CCE is pleased to announce the new Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, which will provide approximately 10 fellowships to support hands-on research toward increasing community resilience in response to Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquakes and tsunamis. During the seven-week program, students will participate in a specific project related to CSZ hazards, learn about engineering for natural hazards resilience, and develop research skills to increase graduate school opportunities.

Application deadline: Friday, Mar. 11, 2016, 1 p.m.

Learn more and apply: cce.oregonstate.edu/surf2016

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!

Jason H. IdekerAssociate Professor Jason H. Ideker has been appointed to the editorial board of Cement and Concrete Research, a leading journal which aims to publish the best research on cement, cement composites, concrete, and other allied materials that incorporate cement.

The journal is designed to reflect current developments and advances being made in the general field of cement-concrete composites technology and in the production, use, and performance of cement-based construction materials.

“As a long-time reviewer for CCR, I am really excited to be appointed to the editorial board. It represents a great challenge but also an opportunity to shape the quality and content of our technical publications in the field of cement and concrete science and engineering,” said Ideker.

Ideker is the second representative from Oregon State on the editorial board; School Head Jason Weiss also serves as a member.

Ideker’s research interests are in the area of early-age volumetric change of cement-based materials and concrete durability. His research group investigates ways to reduce early-age cracking in high performance concrete and to understand volumetric change in alternative cementitious systems. As an internationally recognized expert in alkali-silica reaction (ASR), Ideker and his team explore ways to improve and develop new ASR test methods that accurately reflect field performance.

Amber BergerAfter earning her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Washington State University, School of Civil and Construction Engineering Instructor Amber Berger worked for eight years in private industry, earning her Professional Engineer license in 2010. As a structural engineer in Seattle, Berger developed structural plans and coordinated comprehensive building designs for a variety of projects including the Nintendo of America corporate headquarters.

Following her time in Washington, Berger worked at NuScale Power in Corvallis as a civil structural engineer, writing and reviewing nuclear building design criteria. “Working on nuclear projects at NuScale was a totally different ballgame than my previous experience,” said Berger. NuScale designs small modular reactor nuclear plants; a technology initially developed at the Oregon State University.

After gaining experience in private industry, Berger returned to academia in 2014, completing a Master of Science in Civil Engineering with Professor Shane Brown. In her research, Berger studied whether or not engineering students understand critical concepts in their field, with a thesis titled “Student Misconceptions in Axial, Bending, and Torsional Load Cases.”

Today, Berger teaches students – and works to help them understand the concepts they need to know for their careers – in CEM 383 Structures and Orange LEAP. “I like to connect the classroom to the field and use real-world examples of applications rather than just math in my instruction,” said Berger.

Orange LEAP is new to CCE this fall and is a series of classes aimed at increasing the number and diversity of engineering graduates. The courses are designed for students with less math experience than traditional engineering students and features application-oriented, hands-on approaches that teach the most relevant math used in core engineering courses.

Through both her personal teaching style and the new Orange LEAP curriculum, Berger plays an important role in increasing the number of motivated and successful CCE graduates.

Associate Professor of Geomatics Michael Olsen
Associate Professor of Geomatics Michael Olsen

This year, Associate Professor of Geomatics Michael Olsen was named editor-in-chief of the ASCE Journal of Surveying Engineering. The Journal of Surveying Engineering is the leading journal in the field and covers the broad spectrum of surveying and mapping activities encountered in modern practice as well the role of surveying engineering professionals in an information society.

“I am honored by this opportunity to serve as editor of the prestigious Journal of Surveying Engineering,” said Olsen. “I am excited to help the journal continue to advance and incorporate the latest innovative research in geomatics and its important role and impacts throughout engineering and many other fields.”

Olsen’s current areas of research include terrestrial laser scanning, remote sensing, GIS, earthquake engineering, hazard mapping, and 3D visualization. He teaches geomatics engineering courses at OSU where he has developed innovative courses in 3D laser scanning, Digital Terrain Modeling, and Building Information Modeling.