CEEatGT Update: April 2017

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Students learn about a rainwater collector in the El Campo community from a local engineering during their Spring Break research trip to Bolivia. The trip, part of the Environmental Technology in the Developing World class, included days of collecting water samples and surveying residents as well as days learning how rural communities have developed their own water systems. (Photo: Donald Smith)
About a dozen undergraduates have a new view of their careers and their ability to impact the world after 10 days in Bolivia during Spring Break. They spent the trip testing water quality, collaborating with local engineering students, and learning about local approaches to water collection and wastewater treatment. Four of the travelers reflected on what they did, how it has impacted them, and why the trip was an amazing experience on the latest episode of the CEE Field Notes podcast.

A departure ...Reginald DesRoches, chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will become dean of Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering  effective July 1. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

After five years as the Karen and John Huff School Chair and nearly 20 at Georgia Tech, Reginald DesRoches will step down this summer to become the next dean of engineering at Rice University. DesRoches leaves having overseen the renovation of the Mason Building, infusing the civil and environmental engineering curriculum with leadership and global perspectives, and becoming one of the world’s experts on earthquake engineering.

... and new leadershipProfessor Kimberly Kurtis has been named interim chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, effective July 1, when current chair Reginald DesRoches departs for Rice University. Kurtis has been associate dean for faculty development and scholarship in the College of Engineering since 2014. (File Photo: Gary Meek)

Professor Kimberly Kurtis steps in as interim chair of the School July 1. A longtime member of the CEE faculty, Kurtis has most recently served as the associate dean for faculty development and scholarship in the College of Engineering. Kurtis will lead the School for up to a year while a search committee of faculty, staff and students conducts an international search for the next permanent chair.

Team SEVEN Engineering with Buzz and Associate Professor Kari Watkins after they won for the best project among civil and environmental engineering teams at the spring 2017 Capstone Design Expo. Kemeria Abdella and Sharani White, middle, designed a full site development plan for a proposed medical office building in Cobb County, Georgia, along with Cathy Wong and Ming Yang. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

Expo honors A group of seniors who put together a site development plan for a four-story medical office building in Marietta, Georgia, won top honors for civil and environmental engineering projects at the spring 2017 Capstone Design Expo. SEVEN Engineering was one of seven senior design groups who presented at this semester’s expo — more than ever before.

Members of the ASCE steel bridge team put together their design at the Carolinas Regional Conference for student chapters April 1. The team, led by Colin Martin and Mihai Mavrodin, won first place and advance to national competition in May. (Photo: Thomas S. Teichmann)

On to nationals A team of students who designed, fabricated and assembled a steel bridge will compete nationally in May after winning their regional conference. It was a banner year for the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter at the Carolinas Conference: Students won the essay competition and the transportation competition and placed third overall at the meeting.

The cover of "The Connector" in "Atlanta" magazine featuring the MARTA Army. (Courtesy: "Atlanta" magazine)

Helping hand The MARTA Army was out in force again after Interstate 85 collapsed in Atlanta, stationing themselves at MARTA train stations to help first-time riders navigate the system. The deployment came the same day as a cover story in Atlanta magazine about their grassroots group’s work hit newsstands.

Hannah Greenwald poses for the traditional senior photo with the Georgia Tech Ramblin' Reck. Greenwald has won the top honor for Tech engineering students, the Davidson Family Tau Beta Pi Senior Engineering Cup. (Courtesy: Hannah Greenwald)

Simply the best Senior Hannah Greenwald has received the College of Engineering’s highest honor: the Tau Beta Pi Cup. The award recognizes academic excellence, leadership and service, and it goes to only one graduating senior each year. It was the first of two major awards for Greenwald this month. The other was …

Three School of Civil and Environmental Engineering students have won National Science Foundation graduate fellowships. Hannah Greenwald, left, is a graduating senior. April Gadsby, middle, and Rebecca Nylen are in the early stages of the graduate studies. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

NSF fellows …a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Three of our students are among the winners this year: Greenwald and grad students April Gadsby and Rebecca Nylen. Perhaps the most-coveted of all grad fellowships, the NSF funds go to only a small handful of students nationwide.

Winnie Zambrano took home a Georgia Tech Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher award April 18 for her work with Joe Brown's research group. (Courtesy: Brown Water Group on Twitter)

Outstanding research Winnie Zambrana has won an Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher award for her work in Joe Brown’s lab. She’s been doing molecular analysis of samples from Maputo, Mozambique, where Brown and his colleagues are assessing the effectiveness of urban sanitation on health.

Despina Tsementzi has won the Sigma Xi Best Ph.D. Dissertation award for 2017. (Courtesy: Despina Tsementzi)

Best thesis Despina Tsementzi has already published more than a dozen journal articles as a result of her Ph.D. research, including in the prestigious journal Nature. This spring, the Georgia Tech chapter of Sigma Xi recognized the fall 2016 graduate as producing one of Tech’s best dissertations this year.

Joe Brown won the 2017 Women in Engineering Teaching Excellence Award April 11 for the postitive impact he's had on the lives of Georgia Tech's female engineering students. Two faculty members are recognized each year based on a survey of undergrad women in the College of Engineering. (File Photo)

Classroom impact A survey of women studying engineering at Tech found Joe Brown is one of the best teachers in the entire College. As a result, Women in Engineering has recognized Brown with its 2017 Teaching Excellence Award for making a difference in students’ lives.

Christopher Pappas is this year’s recipient of the Leadership Award for Outstanding Corporate Reinvention from the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Marketing and Economics group. (Courtesy: Business Wire)

Industry impact Alumnus Christopher Pappas has won a leadership award from the American Chemical Society New York chapter recognizing his corporate reinvention skills. Pappas leads chemical firm Trinseo, a company created in 2010 from several different subsidiaries of Dow Chemical. The group called Pappas a visionary for uniting the disparate companies into a successful, publicly traded entity that’s nearly tripled in value.

UNTIL NEXT TIME...