We Are CEE

Civil engineering doctoral student Fangzhou "Albert" Liu was one of just 40 doctoral students worldwide who was chosen to attend the prestigious LARAM school in Italy.

"My plan after Tech is to go to graduate school, then get a Ph.D. I want to focus on sustainable building in developing countries, where they have limited resources."

CEE research engineer Steven W. Van Ginkel is on a mission: promote sustainable urban farming as a way to bring healthy food to what he calls "food deserts" — areas with limited access to fresh, affordable groceries. Along the way, he believes people can learn some valuable lessons about community and green living.

Most college students would be happy to find one career after they graduate. Wilson “Lee” Presley (CE ’79) figures he found four.

“And I’ve been to more than 40 countries visiting jobsites, meeting clients. It’s been fabulous.”

Civil engineering alumnus Charles W. Nelson has received the 2013 A.B. Paterson Award for an Engineer in Management from the Louisiana Engineering Society (LES).


There’s a sense of excitement that seems to follow Bryan Landry, CEE’s new director of development. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the onset of spring weather or landing a new job.

“It’s Georgia Tech,” says Landry, a native of Texas who joined the CEE team on April 2.

Alumni Profiles

Andrea Ardiles followed the path of many School of Civil and Environmental Engineering students after graduation: she walked out of the classroom and straight into a job in her field. In her case, the job was in her native Peru, designing and building hydropower plants for MWH Global. And one day, she gave it all up.

The accolades have come pretty fast and furious for Andy Phelps in recent months.

First, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announced Phelps would receive a lifetime achievement award. Then, a few weeks later, the society elected him a fellow.

The bonds of a Georgia Tech education are strong. So strong, in fact, that four graduate school classmates can scatter throughout the western hemisphere and, 50 years later, remain engaged in a deep and abiding friendship. It’s a friendship that has enveloped their wives, and it’s one that rekindled this fall as the entire group gathered in Atlanta for the first time since 1964.

Bridge building is a family affair at Tampa Steel Erecting Co. It’s also a veritable Georgia Tech reunion. And together, they’ve built award-winning bridges across the country, along with some other iconic structures.

In 1979, when Ulysses Grady was getting ready to graduate from Georgia Tech the first time, he had a serious choice to make.
“It was either go to Meharry School of Dentistry on a full scholarship, or go back to Tech for a master’s in civil engineering, which was also fully funded,” said the Florida native, now vice president of ...

If life is a banquet, then Tabitha Turner, CE '10,  intends to savor everything on the menu. And she’s off to a good start.

Bill Higginbotham has done a lot of things in his career since Georgia Tech. It all started with being an engineer.



A generous gift from Jenny and Michael (CE '76) Messner has enabled the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering to endow a new faculty position, The Frederick Law Olmsted Chair, dedicated to honoring and expanding on the vision of the landscape architect and city planner of the same name.

Kimberly (Brown) Sanders, CE ’90, always thought like a civil engineer – even when she was courting ambitions of becoming a news anchor.
“I liked to ask questions, to find out ‘what will happen if I do this?’ so, in high school, being a newscaster looked like it would be a good career,” says the Augusta, Georgia native...

For Heather Hill, CE ’11, a civil engineering degree from Georgia Tech was the perfect preparation for her current job: systems integration consulting analyst for technology giant Accenture.

Sam Gil, MSCE '13, always knew he wanted to be a civil engineer, but it wasn’t until the last semester of his CEE graduate program that he fine-tuned his career focus.

In October 2014, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) officially admitted CEE alumnus John R. Huff, ’68, to the prestigious organization, joining more than 2,000 members and 211 foreign associates worldwide. Huff and his fellow 2013 inductees will be officially honored when the NAE convenes its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Jimmy Mitchell traces some of his success at Georgia Tech to the viola he played while growing up in High Point, North Carolina.

Faculty Profiles

Iris Tien is the newest member of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty, joining the school this fall after completing her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. She took a few minutes recently to talk about her work and why it’s important to her.

The Girl Scouts are considering building an “eco-village” on the island they own along Georgia’s coast, and they want to harness the ebb and flow of the tide to power it. They’ve turned to Kevin Haas to help. His research group is developing a turbine that could be placed just off the banks of Rose Dhu Island in the Little Ogeechee River, generating enough power for the Girl Scouts’ camp.

With more than 10 million service points, India’s rural drinking water system provides a real monitoring headache for public health officials. To help address the challenge, a three-continent research consortium is evaluating a novel environmental crowdsourcing technique that relies on 53-cent test kits and the nation’s ubiquitous mobile phone service.

It often takes a basket lift, hammers and chisels, and lots of safety equipment when a work crew inspects one of the nation’s 600,000 bridges. The federal government requires such analyses every two years for each of those spans, a costly and time-consuming endeavor. But what if we could install sensors that would deliver data wirelessly on a bridge’s condition, allowing transportation engineers to monitor its health all the time?

Chloe Arson spends a lot of time thinking about salt. And when it comes to the seemingly simple combination of sodium and chlorine, “The more you know, the more you don’t know,” she says. Arson is an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). Her research focuses on damage and healing models for rocks. Salt rock, as it happens, is a perfect subject for her inquiries.

Michel de Montaigne, Jerry Seinfeld and Homer -- these are among the authors that you'll see on Professor Patricia Mokhtarian's bookshelf. Can you guess what her area of academic expertise is?

There are a lot of reasons that Dr. Yong K. Cho is happy he joined CEE’s construction engineering faculty this fall. The Atlanta weather is nice. The schools his children now attend are good ones. And the Georgia Tech campus feels a little like home – he earned an MSCE here in 1997.

CEE’s newest structural engineering faculty, Dr. Lauren K. Stewart, has a deep-rooted (and somewhat personal) commitment to blast mitigation research.

It's going to get a little more difficult for Mike Bergin's students to come up with credible excuses at finals time. 

A five-year $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program has allowed CEE Associate Professor Laurie Garrow to employ big data to analyze the policies that make flying something of a mixed bag for a lot of travelers.

A new project in Japan is helping scientists from Georgia Tech and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to study gas hydrates as a potential source for natural gas. This research advances understanding of the global distribution of gas hydrates as well as whether and how methane contained in gas hydrates can be used as a viable energy source.

Student Profiles

Doctoral student Janille Smith-Colin spends a lot of time on roads. Sometimes it’s studying them. Sometimes it’s running on them.

The urge to become a civil engineer first nudged CEE doctoral student Laura Redmond in seventh grade, when an earthquake shook the foundation of her middle school.

From the moment he first picked up a Lego®, Andrew Loo dreamed of becoming a civil engineer. That’s why he applied to Georgia Tech.

A clash over poetic license convinced Heidi Vreeland that she needed a greater challenge.

Growing up, Victor Miller says he was always "a nature boy who did well in math and science."  When he got to Georgia Tech, he realized those two interests could be passports to adventure.

Doctoral student Aaron M. Costin has a good handle on the whole “work/life balance” dilemma: the construction engineering researcher paints and runs an art studio on the side.

Graduate student Mitchell McKay is scheduled to receive his master’s in structural engineering on Dec. 14, but the 24-year-old Macon native figures he’s got a little more work to do.

“I’m a non-thesis grad student, so this is not required, but, over Christmas, I want to write up my research,” says McKay, a researcher with CEE’s Caribbean Hazard Assessment, Mitigation, and Preparedness (CHAMP) team.

“We think we can get this research published in a journal, which is pretty exciting, and that’s really the only time I’ll have to do it. I start my new job [at the Kennesaw-based Enercon] on December 31