While completing her undergraduate studies in pulp and paper engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology – Roorkee, India, CCE Assistant Professor Meghna Babbar-Sebens became keenly aware of water management issues and identified her interest in water resources and environmental systems analysis.

“My undergraduate studies triggered a passion to pursue a career that would address issues related to sustainable management of water in our environment,” said Babbar-Sebens.

Throughout her studies, Babbar-Sebens excelled in courses that employed mathematics and computational thinking in solving engineering problems. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she was motivated to learn more and decided to pursue graduate school. She joined the Master of Science degree program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she used interdisciplinary optimization techniques based on evolutionary principles to solve complex groundwater management problems. Her research gave her the opportunity to consider original and creative ideas that were based on concepts she had learned in mathematics, computer science, operations research, and water resources engineering. Following her master’s, Babbar-Sebens continued to conduct further research at the University of Illinois on groundwater contamination and monitoring issues, earning a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2006.

As a postdoctoral research associate at Texas A&M University, Babbar-Sebens expanded her research to surface-water and water quality issues, applying a variety of modeling techniques to simulate aquatic contaminants at the scale of streams and watersheds.

Today, Babbar-Sebens examines how innovations in computer science and information technology can address the critical water challenges of our times. Babbar-Sebens and her collaborators have developed a web tool, Watershed REstoration using Spatio-Temporal Optimization of Resources (WRESTORE), which enables stakeholders to view and design various conservation options – such as wetlands and buffer strips – in a simulated watershed environment. Using interactive optimization methods, WRESTORE presents the best possible solutions that users will most likely prefer, based on their feedback within the web tool.

Babbar-Sebens and her research group are also examining the effectiveness of green infrastructure practices in mitigating flooding and improving urban water quality. At the OSU-Benton County Green Stormwater Infrastructure Research Facility, Babbar-Sebens and her team are identifying how a network of sensors can be used to rapidly assess site-scale performance of bioswale designs. Her team is also monitoring and examining site-scale practices to develop better prediction models for watershed-scale processes.

Through interdisciplinary approaches, Babbar-Sebens is conducting research that will assist communities in their efforts to design more resilient watershed landscapes.

1015_Spotlight_Barbosa

 

Assistant Professor Andre Barbosa, who joined the CCE structural program in December 2011, is pursuing a variety of research interests that will contribute to a safer and more resilient built environment. Through research, outreach, and advocacy, Barbosa aims to increase overall community resilience.

Prior to earning his Ph.D. at the University of California San Diego, Barbosa worked for seven years in private industry, designing buildings and bridges – and much of that experience serves as the foundation for his current research that spans reinforced concrete, steel, and timber.

“What I’m most excited about today is CLT (cross-laminated timber) and its potential in Oregon and in the U.S.,” said Barbosa.

Presently, Barbosa is conducting research on CLT as an alternative to other building materials such as steel or concrete. More commonly used in Europe, CLT is beginning to be adopted in the U.S. because it features considerable savings in cost and construction time and is renewable as compared to traditional materials, especially for mid-rise building construction. CLT is formed by adhering panels of wood under high pressure and is assembled in perpendicular layers to prefabricated specifications. As one of the world’s premier timber producing regions, Oregon could benefit economically from an increase in CLT as a popular building material.

Barbosa’s research also focuses on performance-based engineering (PBE), a concept in which structures can be designed to not only withstand a major hazard such an earthquake, but also remain functional immediately following the event. Many structures built to contemporary standards withstand hazards with life-safety as a primary concern; yet the structures can suffer immense damage that makes them uninhabitable after an extreme event. “After a major event, we want the community and their activities to continue,” said Barbosa. Barbosa plans to provide engineers with continued education on PBE tools and techniques geared towards improving structural performance and resilience.

Currently, Barbosa is working on improving local resilience by assisting a Corvallis community group in their efforts to retrofit existing structures to withstand earthquakes. The majority of U.S. structures are privately owned and have not been retrofitted appropriately, thus efforts to increase awareness of the importance of retrofitting is vital for communities. With the same goal of improving community resilience to extreme hazards, Barbosa is developing research as a co-PI in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Risk-based Community Resilience Center of Excellence.

In addition to his local efforts, Barbosa has conducted international research, including a recent trip to Nepal as part of a National Science Foundation-Rapid Response Research team that he led this summer. The team assessed the damage of reinforced concrete structures with masonry infills as well as masonry buildings by acquiring structural data through ambient vibration testing, ground-based LiDAR, and other more traditional damage assessment methods. In collecting the data, Barbosa provided valuable information to assist the local rebuilding efforts in Nepal and also acquired pertinent data that will be used to assess current US guidelines on existing structures.

Through all of Barbosa’s efforts he seeks to increase the resilience of local, regional, and international communities through a combination of research, outreach, and advocacy.

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.

1015_Spotlight_ArochoAfter earning her Ph.D. in civil engineering from North Carolina State University, Assistant Professor Ingrid Arocho joined the School of Civil and Construction Engineering in January 2015.

Prior to OSU, Arocho conducted research on construction site emissions from diesel powered equipment. In her work, she studied how contractors can use different equipment combinations and project schedules to reduce total emissions and environmental impact from construction projects.

Currently, Arocho is conducting safety research with Professor Chris Lee on transportation construction-related accidents. In their work, Arocho and Lee are using the method of fault tree analysis to understand how accidents occur and to identify the best ways to prevent them.

“I am pleased to take part in research that will promote safer workplaces,” said Arocho. “I also look forward to continuing research on equipment fleet management and construction site sustainability.”

Arocho teaches Project Management for Construction CEM 443/543 and is a member of the Transportation Research Board.

 

1015_Spotlight_ArrasSenior Lecturer Tracy Arras joined the School of Civil and Construction Engineering in 2011 and today serves as an ESTEM@OSU Action Research Fellow. Arras’ research is centered on strengthening problem-based learning in undergraduate education, which she applies in all of her courses but the ESTEM@OSU fellowship is primarily focused on the class Engineering Graphics and Design CCE 201.

For many students in CCE 201, the course is the first opportunity to apply their engineering training to a real-world problem. For their term project, students work in teams to retrofit a city block for the implementation of greenwater infrastructure devices. Throughout the course, the teams design and develop their proposal which includes a thorough cover letter that describes their proposed plan as well as set of engineering drawings, known as a sheet set.

“For their professional development, I recommend students participate in as many hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that they can and develop a portfolio of their projects,” said Arras.

Arras’ technical interests are principally in the area of geographical information systems (GIS), water resources and the integration of GIS for water resource applications. Her technical interests also include the development of innovative and effective pedagogic approaches to engage freshman and sophomore students.

Arras holds a Ph.D. in water resources engineering from OSU and previously served as an associate professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

  On Monday, Oct. 5, the School of Civil and Construction Engineering (CCE) hosted the first lecture in a new Distinguished Lecture Series, presented by Kiewit. The event featured veteran builder and award-winning historian Paul Giroux who gave his talk, Great Builders, to an audience of 600 guests. In Great Builders, Giroux shared his unique… Continue reading

Student Spotlight: Will Mau

Construction Engineering Management

CEM Student Will Mau
CEM student Will Mau leads a tour of the new Learning Innovation Center (LInC) building on campus. Mau served as a project engineering intern with the general contractor for the project.

Why did you choose Oregon State?

I chose Oregon State primarily because of the university’s excellent engineering program, but the beautiful campus atmosphere in Corvallis and ideal distance from my hometown of Eugene helped make OSU the perfect school for me.

 

How did you choose the field of Construction Engineering Management (CEM)? 

I chose CEM with help from my advisor Katie Whitehead, and my introductory Fall Term General Engineering course that walks undecided engineering students through the many engineering programs that OSU offers. I had a strong interest in Civil and Construction engineering, and the blend of business, engineering, and project management that CEM provides is exactly what I was looking for.

 

What projects are you currently working on?

I worked this summer as a project engineering intern for Fortis Construction, a general contractor out of Portland that handles a lot of projects for OSU including the ILLC, Tebeau Hall, and most recently the Learning Innovation Center (LInC). This summer, I was involved in the closeout stages of the LInC building, a project that began the month I arrived on campus as a freshman and will be complete and open for classes this fall.

 

What are you some of your future career goals? 

My future career goals are to become a project engineer involved in the construction of buildings in sectors such as higher education, healthcare and data centers. I plan to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration after getting experience in the industry, in order to one day become a project manager for large contracts like the LInC project that I had the opportunity to be involved in this summer.

 

Any advice for incoming OSU students? 

My advice to incoming OSU students is: Don’t be afraid to explore your options when it comes to your major. I came to Corvallis knowing only that I wanted to be an engineer, but had no idea what kind. Use the resources the university provides and discover what you’re passionate about. Once you find the right fit, learning is no longer a task; it becomes a really enjoyable and engaging experience.

Congratulations to CCE faculty members Shane Brown and Jonathan (Jack) Istok on receiving awards at the 2015 University Day Faculty and Staff Awards Recognition event. Professor Shane Brown received the OSU Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, which honors unusually significant and meritorious achievement in teaching and scholarship which enhances effective instruction. Professor Jonathan Istok received the Richard… Continue reading

On August 7-8, OSU hosted the executive committee meeting of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geomatics Division (GMD). Committee members from CCE included Assistant Professors Dan Gillins and Mike Olsen, and Associate Professor Chris Parrish as well PhD Graduate Student Michael Dennis. The focus of the meeting was to develop a new version of the ASCE Engineering Surveying Manual – last updated in 1984. This manual, to be edited by Prof. Gillins is intended to provide important concepts for practicing engineering surveyors and will cover significant advances in geomatics over the past few decades and their role in civil engineering. Topics at the executive committee meeting included discussions on model law and the future of surveying as well as ASCE’s newly formed Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI), which takes effect October 1, 2015.

ASCE Executive Committee Geomatics Division
Executive Committee of the ASCE Geomatics Division

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On Thursday, August 13 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. PST, Andre Barbosa and other members of the NSF-RAPID project team will discuss recent observations in the 2015 Nepal (Gorkha) Debriefing, hosted by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER).

Join the debriefing online at: bit.ly/1MoxIJv 

Learn more about the NSF-RAPID Grant for Post-Disaster Data Collection.

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) announced that Oregon State University earned second place amongst competitors from throughout the nation in the annual Big Beam Contest. The OSU CCE student team was comprised of Karryn Johnsohn, Jason Anderson, and Curtis Blank and was advised by Keith Kaufman of the Knife River Corporation.

The objective of the Big Beam contest 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 – and prizes are awarded in consideration of efficient design, highest load capacity, and other categories.

OSU has a long history of performing well in the competition. Since the contest began in 2001, OSU has captured four national championships. This year, OSU placed second in North America, ahead of 18 other recognized teams.

Congratulations students on your excellent work!

CCE 2015 Big Beam Team
CCE 2015 Big Beam Team

CH2M-Hill, in association with Oregon State University’s (OSU) College of Engineering and School of Civil and Construction Engineering, sponsored and conducted the 46th annual model bridge contest on Saturday. The competition was originally named for one of CH2M-Hill’s founders, Holly Cornell, a 1938 graduate of OSU’s Civil Engineering Department, who provided a grant for the contest. The contest requires high school students to make a basswood bridge to a specification with the intent to carry as much load as possible.

The competition is intended to promote interest in engineering and provides an opportunity for high school teachers to introduce the concepts of design and testing of engineering structures to their students. Also, a considerable amount of skill is required to construct the models, and the students learn the importance of working to a specification.

The contest is “staffed” by professional engineers from CH2M-Hill and students from OSU’s School of Civil and Construction Engineering, many of whom are members of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) stude¬nt chapter. OSU students help with setup, cleanup, registration, weighing, measuring, testing, and distribution of refreshments.

In total, students from five high schools participated in the 2015 contest: ACE Academy, Riverdale, Springfield, Nestucca, and Yoncalla.

CH2M-Hill and OSU hope that the contest inspires some high school students to study engineering at the University. However, the organizers consider their effort worthwhile if everyone enjoys the day at OSU and the interaction with college students, faculty, and practicing engineers. In attendance were approximately 29 high school students, 20 teachers and parents, 21 OSU student volunteers, two ASCE practitioner advisors, and the ASCE, faculty advisor. Our judges again this year were Devin Altman from CH2M-Hill and Dusty Andrews from Knife River.

The 2015 contest involved a number of ASCE student helpers from 7:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. 129 bridges were tested. Rules for the International Bridge Contest were used again this year. The most efficient bridge carried more than 5,000 times its weight of 9.4 g! Students from Riverdale placed first, second and third in the Conde McCullough Region and Nestucca placed first, second and third in the Holly Cornell Region.

The students finishing in first and second place in each region are eligible to enter the International Contest to be held later this year.

— Tom Miller, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering