Alexandra Israel Wins Top American Concrete Institute Scholarship

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Wensi Chen

By Amy Kim

Civil engineering Ph.D. student Alexandra ("Ally”) Israel was recognized for her outstanding research in concrete design, winning the Georgia Chapter of the American Concrete Institute’s Sam Morris Student Scholarship in February 2022.  

The Georgia Chapter awards one Sam Morris Student Scholarship annually, which honors a local undergraduate or graduate student who has demonstrated interest in concrete technology, materials, design, or construction.  

In January 2021, Israel joined the research group of  has been a member of a research group under Professor Kimberly Kurtis, the Raymond Allen Jones Chair in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In her research, Israel uses national lab-level equipment like synchrotron X-ray techniques to study cement formulas and green solutions to concrete development. To supplement her research, Israel traveled to the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab in 2021 to conduct synchrotron experiments and to Houston to receive training on rheometer techniques from its manufacturer.  

Israel’s personal research focuses on CO2 cements and their chemical additives, —like limestone calcined clay and calcium cements—, throughout heat evolution, phase development, and microstructure by analyzing changes in rheology, set time, and early age strength. The outcome, she hopes, is to design more effective admixtures that impart a range of desirable characteristics in the early hydration phase of concrete development.

Despite starting her studies at Georgia Tech during the Covid-19 pandemic, Israel “brings an energy and clarity to collaborative work,” Kurtis said. 

“All of what she has accomplished already here has been done under suboptimal working conditions, Kurtis said. “Ms. Israel’s can-do spirit and energy have allowed her to make tremendous progress during this period.”