CEEatGT Update: May 2017

Timing is everything
Traffic moves through the interchange at Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Interstate 285 in Atlanta's Perimeter area. The busy district is one of several areas where the Georgia Department of Transportation and some School of Civil and Environmental Engineering alumni at Kimley-Horn and Associates are using advanced technology and traffic signal timing to maximize the flow of traffic. (Photo Courtesy: Kimley-Horn and Associates)
Watching your work literally make a difference in people’s lives. That’s why so many civil and environmental engineers get into the field in the first place. For Sean Coleman and Alvin James, that means getting people home a little quicker everyday. It means saving $100 million in time and fuel. It means squeezing every last ounce of capacity out of our roads and highways. These two alumni, along with a bunch of other Tech civil engineers, are helping take traffic signal timing to the next level — and making life better for millions of Atlanta’s commuters.

Go with the flowA company founded by Georgia Tech students is pioneering a new model for helping rural communities in developing countries maintain — and sustain — water security.

Originally, the company co-founded by alumnus Benjamin Cohen worked to provide water to hard-to-reach areas after disasters using helicopters and flexible tubing. But the more they worked on water infrastructure, the more they realized that sometimes communities with access to clean water lost it because of a broken pump or a maintenance issue. Now the company, TOHL, is piloting a project to keep water flowing in these areas.
I-85 lessonsSoundcloud player for WABE-FM's Closer Look featuring Iris Tien talking about Atlanta's infrastructure.Yes, it caused all kinds of headaches for Atlantans trying to get around town. But the Interstate 85 bridge collapse this spring also has the potential to teach us much about the interdependence of our infrastructure. Iris Tien talked about the lessons she’s gathering from the collapse and, more broadly, about Atlanta’s infrastructure on WABE-FM’s Closer Look. (Skip to the 18-minute mark for their conversation.)

Judges watch as members of the Georgia Tech steel bridge team work to put together their creation at the National Student Steel Bridge Competition May 27 in Corvallis, Oregon. The team, which placed 14th out of 43 teams, advanced to nationals after winning their regional competition. (Photo: Zonglin “Jack” Li)

Bridges Some American Society of Civil Engineers chapter members spent Memorial Day weekend in Oregon competing against the nation’s best student steel bridge teams. After what a team captain called a “perfect build,” the team finished 14th — putting them in the top third of all competitors.

Civil engineering Ph.D. student Heng Chi, right, won the Robert J. Melosh Medal from Duke University in late April. Chi, who is the first Georgia Tech student ever to win the prestigious competition in computational mechanics, stands with co-winner Matthias Mayr, center, from Technical University of Munich, and Duke Associate Professor Guglielmo Scovazzi. (Photo Courtesy: John Dolbow/Duke University)

Making history Ph.D. student Heng Chi made history this spring as the first Georgia Tech student to ever win the Robert J. Melosh Medal. The competition gathers the best student papers on finite element method from around the world. Chi won for his work proposing a new technique for modeling materials under large deformation, like the stretching of rubber. Learn more about his work in his 30 Second Thesis video.

Courtney Di Vittorio, left, with her Ph.D. adviser, Aris Georgakakos and some of the data she's using for her research. Di Vittorio's work to incorporate satellite data into hydrologic models so decision-makers can improve water management plans has won her a 2017 Earth and Space Science Fellowship from NASA. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

Eyes in the sky NASA has named Courtney Di Vittorio one of its 2017 Earth and Space Science Fellows. The award will support her Ph.D. work using satellite data to help decision-makers develop better water management plans. (Our students are on a roll with NASA, by the way. It’s the second consecutive year the NASA fellows include a CEEatGT Ph.D. student.)

Newly minted Ph.D. Sujith Mangalathu received more good news in the days after he officially graduated from Georgia Tech: he also has won the 2017 Nevada Medal for his research on bridge engineering.

State of the art Sujith Mangalathu won this year’s Nevada Medal for his work on bridge engineering and machine learning — an honor he learned of just days after finishing his doctorate. The medal recognizes top graduate student contributions to state-of-the-art bridge engineering, design and construction.

Ph.D. student Laura Mast is one of just 50 students nationwide who will learn how to better communicate the value and impact of their scientific work at a Harvard University conference for grad students in June. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

Communicating science Harvard invited Laura Mast to join 49 of her fellow graduate students learning how to communicate the value of their scientific work to broad audiences. Mast said she wants to bring what she learns back to Tech and teach her other Yellow Jackets about social media strategies, working with the media, and communicating with policymakers.

Ph.D. student Alice Grossman will spend 10 weeks in the nation’s capital this summer as a transportation policy fellow at the Eno Center for Transportation. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

Professional development Alice Grossman is spending part of her summer in Washington D.C. working on transportation policy at the Eno Center for Transportation. The center selected her for the 2017 Thomas J. O’Bryant Transportation Policy and Finance Fellowship, a professional development opportunity for aspiring transportation specialists.
  "Civil + Structural Engineer" magazine has named Lauren Stewart one of the industry’s rising stars. She's the only full-time faculty member among the list's 29 professionals under 40 years old. (Photo: Gary Meek)
Rising star Civil + Structural Engineer magazine included Lauren Stewart on its 2017 list of rising stars in the industry. Stewart, an expert on blasts and extreme loading of structures, was the only full-time faculty member included in the list of up-and-coming young engineers.
Fred Donovan Sr. speaks at the Georgia Tech College of Engineering Alumni Awards after being inducted in the Engineering Hall of Fame.
Honoring our best Fred Donovan Sr. joined the Georgia Tech Engineering Hall of Fame this spring — one of four CEEatGT alumni honored at the College of Engineering alumni awards ceremony. Jimmy Carlos, Paul Flower and Jose Bern also were recognized for their achievements at a black-tie gala in April.
WATCH: What it’s like doing research in Bolivia