CEEatGT Update: February 2017

Suzanne Shank delivers the spring 2017 lecture for the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Kenneth Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Leadership Speaker Series. Shank, BCE 1983, is chairwoman, CEO and co-founder of Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., a $2 trillion municipal bond and corporate financing firm and the top-ranked minority- and woman-owned municipal bond underwriter in the country. (Photo: Zonglin "Jack" Li)
Leadership is a living, breathing web of connections and relationships, according to Suzanne Shank, who has risen to the highest levels of finance in America. The 1983 civil engineering graduate now runs the largest minority- and woman-owned municipal bond firm in the country, and she got there, she says, as a result of the combination of all the people who influenced her — mentors, teachers, protégés —and the circumstances of her life. And as an undergrad at Tech, she learned a key lesson that’s served her well: “I realized I could only go so far on my own.” Read more of her thoughts on the network of leadership and watch her Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Leadership Lecture.
Danger in the air
Joe Brown and undergrad Valeria Hernandez discuss some of the field samples the students collected in Bolivia in 2016. The group traveled as part of Brown’s Environmental Technology in the Developing World course. Some of the work they did served as pilot data for Brown’s newly funded Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation. (Photo Courtesy: Environmental Technology in the Developing World Class)
Researchers know that people are less healthy in communities lacking effective sanitation because they have contaminated water, poor hygiene, or direct contact with raw sewage. But what if something else is at work too? What if the pathogens making people sick are also flying through the air? Joe Brown has won an Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation to study the microbial risks at the interface between air and water.
Marc and Kate Sanborn are working on doctorates in civil engineering with Lauren Stewart. The couple, married since 2012, are majors in the U.S. Army and need advanced degrees to continue their careers teaching at the U.S. Military Academy. (Photo: Missy Jurick)
They’ve built successful military careers. A marriage too. Now Marc and Kate Sanborn are building the next phase of their life together as civil engineering Ph.D. students, earning credentials that will let them return to teaching at the U.S. Military Academy and advance. The couple said part of what attracted them to Georgia Tech was the broad civil engineering program, which meant they could both attend but work in different areas.

Professor Bruce Ellingwood

Lifetime achievement Professor Emeritus Bruce Ellingwood has received a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for his accomplishments as an engineering educator. Ellingwood, a pioneer of probability-based design standards for structures, is one of five winners of the society’s Outstanding Projects and Leaders awards this year.

Kari Watkins and Phanish Suryanarayana, who have earned tenure and will be promoted to the rank of associate professor this summer. (Photos: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

Tenure and promotion Kari Watkins and Phanish Suryanarayana learned this month they earned tenure and promotion to associate professor. They joined four other faculty members — Yongshen Chen, Hermann Fritz, Laurie Garrow and Arash Yavari — who received promotions from associate professor to professor.

Headphones and a sound board before a recording for the first edition of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering's new "Field Notes" podcast. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

Podcast debut A new occasional podcast from the School debuted in February with an episode designed to help prospective students make their college decision. It's loaded with insider information about life as a student and advice from alumni. Future podcasts will feature conversations and ideas from more students, faculty and alumni.

Georgia Power Distinguished Professor Susan Burns

Top teacher For the second time in three years, Susan Burns has received Georgia Tech’s teaching effectiveness award. The prize goes to faculty members whose students rate them at least 4.9 out of 5 on course surveys. Only 40 instructors across all of Georgia Tech win the award each year.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents recently named Kim D. Jones a regents professor. (Photo: Texas A&M-Kingsville)

Regents professor Alumnus Kim Jones has been named a Regents professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Jones, who earned two environmental engineering graduate degrees from Georgia Tech, has been teaching at Texas A&M-Kingsville since 1999 and recently stepped down as the environmental engineering department chair.

Michael Rodgers

Award-winning work Concept maps don’t get much use in engineering courses even though they’re a detailed way to assess how well students are learning complex information. Part of the problem has been finding a good way to score the maps. Michael Rodgers and former Ph.D. student Mary Katherine Watson just won the Thomas C. Evans Award from the American Society of Engineering Education for their work testing three different scoring methods.