CEEatGT Update: March 2017

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CEE's graduate civil engineering program is No. 2 in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report's 2018 survey. Graduate environmental engineering ranked No. 7. (Image: Jess Hunt-Ralston)
The civil engineering graduate program at Georgia Tech rose to No. 2 in the nation, according to new rankings from U.S. News and World Report. It’s the first time one of the School’s grad programs ranked that high. The same release also placed the environmental engineering graduate program seventh in the United States. The School has remained among U.S. News’ top 10 graduate programs for more than two decades.

I-85 Collapse

After an Interstate 85 bridge collapsed in Atlanta March 30, reporters in search of expert insight found plenty among the School's structural and transportation engineers. Lauren Stewart, Kimberly Kurtis, Michael Hunter and Reginald DesRoches all offer insight on the evaluation and rebuilding process as well as the impact on Atlanta's notorious traffic.

National exposureYannis Dialynas defended his Ph.D. thesis in January and hasn’t even celebrated his graduation. Yet he’s been working on the second State of the Carbon Cycle Report’s soils chapter, contributing insight from his doctoral research on the influence of soil erosion and carbon burial on the global carbon cycle.

Recent Ph.D. graduate Yannis Dialynas has joined some of the nation’s leading scientists as a contributor to a federal report on the carbon cycle. Dialynas offered his expertise on the influence of soil erosion and carbon burial on the global carbon cycle for the report’s chapter on soils. The 2nd State of the Carbon Cycle Report is due out later this year.

Team TruePani reacts after they're announced as the People's Choice Award winners at the 2016 InVenture Prize finals. The team designed an antimicrobial cup and water storage device that makes drinking water safer. Shannon Evanchec and Samantha Becker have been working full-time for the last year to turn their winning invention into a viable business. (Photo: Fitrah Hamid)

InVenture, one year later A year removed from their appearance in the InVenture Prize finals, Samantha Becker and Shannon Evanchec are turning their invention into a commercial venture to help people in developing countries keep their water clean. The two have been working full time on TruePani since they graduated last spring.

Art Williams talks with students at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering's first scholarship and fellowship lunch. Williams and his family created the F. Everett Williams Scholarship for civil engineering students. (Photo: Joshua Stewart)

Connections When students earn a scholarship, they often never find out much about the people who made it possible. That all changed for some civil and environmental engineering students in March when they had lunch with the alumni and donors who are helping support their education.

The Eno Center for Transportation has selected Stephanie Amoaning-Yankson for its 2017 class of fellows. The fifth-year Ph.D. student will attend the center's Future Leaders Development Conference this summer to hear from federal officials, transportation policymakers, and business leaders. (Photo Courtesy: Stephanie Amoaning-Yankson)

Newest Eno Fellow Ph.D. student Stephanie Amoaning-Yankson will learn the ins and outs of making transportation policy in America this summer as an Eno Center for Transportation Fellow. Amoaning-Yankson will attend Eno’s Future Leaders Development Conference in D.C., the seventh CEE student in six years to earn an invitation to the exclusive event.

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering researchers have found that bacteria present in only small numbers in freshwater systems contain key genes that help the broader microbial community respond to environmental changes such as pollution or oil spills. The team used water from Lake Lanier northeast of Atlanta to test how microbial communities respond to common organic compounds. (Photo Courtesy: PBT1981 via Wikimedia Commons)

Rare microbes matter Bacteria found in relatively small concentrations in lakes and other aquatic environments play an important role in dealing with pollution and balancing the ecosystem. New research from Kostas Konstantinidis and his Georgia Tech colleagues found these “rare” microbes carry important genes for breaking down organic pollutants and serving other ecological functions.

Screenshot of GPB web page featuring the March 16 segment on self-driving cars that included Michael Hunter.

Atlanta + self-driving cars Atlanta has moved closer to putting self-driving cars on the roads with its selection as one of three cities in the world selected for the Safer Roads Challenge. Michael Hunter told the public radio program On Second Thought the jury’s still out, however, on whether these autonomous vehicles actually will make our roads safer.

Ph.D. student Heng Chi has been selected as one six finalists to compete for the prestigious Robert J. Melosh Medal in April.

Melosh Medal Heng Chi has made the final round of a prestigious competition for grad students working in computational mechanics. Chi, who’s in his sixth year of Ph.D. studies, will present his finite element method paper in April alongside the five other finalists for the Robert J. Melosh Medal.

Alumnus Falak Shah has been named to a select group of young leaders who represent the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ next generation, the Young Professionals Ambassadors. (Photo Courtesy: Falak Shah)

Leadership, part I Alumnus Falak Shah has been named to a select group of young leaders who represent the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ next generation. Shah, Ph.D. 2014, is part of the 2017-2018 class of YP Ambassadors. The ambassadors represent about 2 percent of the council’s young professional members.

Junior Arjun Bir’s work to improve lives in his native India and in the developing world has earned him the 2017 Alvin M. Ferst Leadership and Entrepreneur Award from Georgia Tech.

Leadership, part II Arjun Bir’s efforts to improve schools in his native India and to help people in developing countries test their water for contamination have earned him Georgia Tech’s Alvin M. Ferst Leadership and Entrepreneur Award. Bir is preparing to launch two ventures this summer to further his work and improve lives.

Professor Adjo Amekudzi-Kennedy (Photo: Zonglin "Jack" Li)

Asset management Adjo Amekudzi-Kennedy explored using portfolio capital asset management to develop sustainable infrastructure at a keynote address at the University of Toronto. Her presentation was part of Global Engineering Week events at the university.