June 2024

Message from the Head

Rao Govindaraju

As I write this message, we are just weeks away from entering a new era for our School. On July 1, we become the Lyles School of Civil and Construction Engineering.

I am incredibly excited for this new phase as it will further strengthen our program and enhance the educational experiences of our students. By merging with the Division of Construction Engineering and Management, we are better able to address industry demands — both nationally and internationally — that call for graduates who have a greater understanding of the civil and construction engineering fields. The timing is fortuitous given the promise of increased infrastructure spending in the country.

Initial merger discussions began in 2023 when the College of Engineering, CE, and CEM agreed that there was an opportunity to better serve our students with Purdue University-Indianapolis coming online. The merger will better position us to offer new programs and opportunities at both the West Lafayette and Indianapolis locations.

A primary goal of this merger is to gain better alignment and timing of student offerings (such as internships, co-ops, and study abroad opportunities) to minimize overlap of courses, while providing pathways to timely graduation. This move will also allow us to better deploy new options and opportunities — such as certificate programs, professional concentrations — at both the graduate and undergraduate levels — more effectively and efficiently.

We are looking forward to seeing the new heights our School will reach with this merger, and I encourage you to visit our FAQ page for more details about what this merger entails.

All the best,

Rao S. Govindaraju
Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering
and Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering

Purdue Civil Engineering graduate and online Master’s programs ranked top 5 in the nation

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering’s Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Graduate Program in Civil Engineering and online Master’s program have both been recognized as top 5 programs in the country.

U.S. News & World Report has released its national rankings of graduate programs for 2025 with Purdue Civil Engineering ranked #5 in the nation. The school’s online Master’s program was ranked #2 in the nation.

Read more.

Collaboration seeks to develop innovative solutions for eco-friendly industrial buildings

Purdue University and Google announced on May 23 a new collaborative research project aimed at exploring the use of AI to develop innovative solutions for low-carbon industrial building design. The project seeks to leverage AI’s power to explore new materials, technologies and design strategies that can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of industrial buildings, such as data centers, not only across the U.S. but globally. Travis Horton and Joe Sinfield are spearheading this partnership.

“Google is committed to using AI to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including climate change,” said Ben Townsend, global head of infrastructure and sustainability at Google. “We are excited to partner with Purdue University on this important research project, which has the potential to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon building practices in the industrial sector.”

Read more.

Upcoming Events

  • September 24, 2024 – Co-op Employer/Student Reception
  • September 28, 2024 – Homecoming Breakfast
  • October 10, 2024 – CESAC Career Fair

Congratulations Class of 2024!

Congratulations to all of our students who earned their degrees this past May! We’re incredibly proud to count you as our newest alumni — and we look forward to seeing you back on campus soon!

Study: Urban office buildings pump out volatile chemicals to the outdoors, comparable to traffic emissions

The air coming out of office buildings in urban areas may be more polluted than once believed, Purdue University researchers say.

A research team led by Brandon Boor, associate professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, published a new study in the journal ‘Cell Reports Sustainability’ that states modern buildings continually release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to outdoor air and are likely to be an important contributor to the VOC burden of the urban atmosphere. The team conducted direct measurements of outdoor-indoor air pollutant exchange in a high-performance office building using state-of-the-art air quality instrumentation and an advanced building automation platform.

“We traditionally think of filtering the outdoor air entering our buildings. Based on the findings of our study, we now need to consider cleaning the air leaving our offices, homes and schools to reduce VOC emissions to the outdoor environment,” Boor said.

Read more.

Purdue, INDOT and partners break ground on highway test bed to develop wireless charging for electric vehicles

The Indiana Department of Transportation, Cummins, White Construction, and Purdue ceremoniously broke ground May 1 for a highway segment where Purdue engineers will test a system they designed to wirelessly provide power to heavy-duty electric trucks traveling at highway speeds.

Read more.

Big Ten partnership allows for remote testing of autonomous vehicle in a mixed reality environment

Through a partnership between Big Ten programs, Purdue University researchers are remote testing their autonomous vehicle from a state away.

A research team, led by Lyles School of Civil Engineering Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of the Center for Road Safety Yiheng Feng, has partnered with the University of Michigan’s Mcity 2.0 to conduct the first remote testing of autonomous vehicles (AV) in a mixed reality environment. The partnership came about, Feng said, as a result of mutual needs and benefits.

“At Purdue, we are able to test a truly autonomous vehicle — a luxury that a lot of research teams do not have,” Feng said. “However, we can test it locally in a closed environment, which means the testing scenarios we can explore are limited.”

Feng’s team is the first to conduct live remote testing with Mcity, but the technology will ultimately be available to academic researchers across the country.

Read more.

Get Connected!

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering has several ways for you to stay up-to-date with our activities and accomplishments. One of the best ways is to subscribe to our social media channels.

We have active Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts. Join us, interact, and share!

Purdue ASCE places first overall at IN-KY Symposium

Purdue ASCE, now in its 100th year, brought a record 61 student competitors to the annual symposium. The team won a total of 13 awards and placed first overall in the event from a field of 14 universities.

See more for photos of the competition.

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering faculty members have been sharing their research through Medium — an online publishing platform. Stories submitted by our professors include research into deep neural networks used to monitor nuclear reactors, autonomous and connected vehicles, and smart testing for resilient infrastructure. You can find their articles and more at

  • Two Olympic-sized (50-meter) swimming pools were constructed on Lucas Oil Stadium's field for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, marking the first time an indoor pool has been constructed in a venue of this size. Dave Burchard (BSCE '82) and his fellow Purdue alumni colleagues at Shiel Sexton organized the build.
  • Kelly Powers Baria (BSCE 1998), Vice President of Powers & Sons Construction Company, joined a panel of women leaders in construction for a digital roundtable to discuss her background and experience in the industry.
  • Ersal Ozdemir (BSCE 1997, CEAAA 2022), President & CEO of Keystone Group and the Indy Eleven, presented at the CE Executive Forum on Wednesday, March 20th. Ersal shared his career journeys, discussing both successes and setbacks, and offered valuable guidance on achieving personal and professional goals.
  • Aniya Edwards (BSCE '23, MSCE '24) was the 2023 Undergraduate Research Pitch Competition winner and audience favorite. She presented her research work focusing on sustainable construction materials.
  • Emily Foote (BSCE '10, MSBCM '18), Area Manager at Bechtel Corporation, has been named to the Engineering News-Record Midwest list of top young professionals for 2024.

Thanks for keeping us up to date with your contact information, life events, and career news. Send your updates to: Kathy Heath at

  • Pablo Orosa Iglesias, Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, placed in the top five of 38 nominees put forward by faculty and students as the top candidates from colleges across the Purdue campus for the 2024 Graduate School Postdoc Mentor Award.
  • CE graduate students Gaia Cervini and Hansae Kim placed first and second, respectively, in the Emerging Professional Group Research Competition at the 2024 Indiana GIS conference.
  • Ph.D. student Chunxu Huang has received a 2024-2025 ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Grant-in-Aid Award, a $10,000 award given to outstanding graduate students conducting research in High Performance Buildings or HVAC fields.
  • Grad student Raman Shaw won first place in the 2024 Purdue Say It In 6® competition with his 6-word entry describing his graduate research experience - "Turning rough edges into research gold."
  • Grad student Jose Capa Salinas competed as a finalist at the 2024 Purdue Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition.
  • Grad student Deepak Benny received honorable mention for best student paper at the 65th international meeting of the Transportation Research Forum conference.
  • CE undergrad David Kopp was selected as a 2024-2025 Institute of Transportation Engineers Indiana Section Edward J. Cox Memorial Transportation Scholarship Awardee. David was presented the award during the 2024 Purdue Road School.
  • Grad student Greg Brinster was selected as a 2024-2025 Institute of Transportation Engineers Indiana Section Edward J. Cox Memorial Transportation Scholarship Awardee. Greg was presented the award during the 2024 Purdue Road School.
  • CE undergrads Amareah Bead and Kaltra Woltz have been named Dean's Leadership Scholars. Established in 2019, the program selects students based on academic and leadership accomplishments to serve in an external advisory role to the dean.
  • Grad student Ricardo Chahine was presented the Best Poster Award at the 103rd annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board for his poster titled, "Navigating post-pandemic urban mobility: Unveiling intentions for shared micro-mobility usage across three U.S. cities."

  • A Purdue research team led by Panagiota Karava, Professor of Civil Engineering, has been awarded a $1.6M grant from the National Science Foundation to fund their project "Smart energy assistants for affordable housing communities."
  • Nadia Gkritza, Professor of Civil Engineering and Agricultural and Biological Engineering, will join the 2024 cohort of the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science (ELATES) fellowship program at Drexel University.
  • Jan Olek, James H. and Carol H. Cure Professor in Civil Engineering and Director of the North Central Superpave Center, has been elected to serve on the American Concrete Institute's Committee on Nominations for 2024-2025.
  • Rao ("GS") Govindaraju, Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering and Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, and Venkatesh Merwade, Professor of Civil Engineering, were recognized at the 2024 ASCE World Environmental & Water Resources Congress. Dr. Govindaraju received the seminal paper award for a paper he co-authored in the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering titled, "Artificial Neural Networks in Hydrology I: Preliminary Concepts and II: Hydrologic Applications." Professor Merwade received the best technical paper award for his co-authored work titled, "Uncertainty Analysis and Quantification in Flood Insurance Rate Maps Using Bayesian Model Averaging and Hierarchical BMA," also published in the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering. During the event, Dr. Govindaraju was also presented with the EWRI Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Chad Jafvert, Lyles Family Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, received the 2024 Charles O'Melia AEESP Distinguished Educator Award.
  • Luna Lu, Reilly Professor of Civil Engineering, has led development of a sensor technology that has been recognized as a gold winner of an Edison Award in the Critical Human Infrastructure category. The Edison Awards, considered the "Oscars of innovation," are given annually to "recognize the persistence and excellence that also characterized Thomas Edison's work."
  • Antonio Bobet, the Edgar B. and Hedwig M. Olson Professor of Civil Engineering, has been selected to join the Fulbright Specialist Program. Established in 2001 by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), the program pairs highly qualified U.S. academics and professionals with host institutions abroad to share their expertise and strengthen institutional linkages.
  • Robert J. Connor, Jack and Kay Hockema Professor of Civil Engineering, received the Walter P. Moore, Jr. Award, presented by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • Makarand (Mark) Hastak, Ph.D., P.E., CCP, CRIS, FASCE, NAC, the Dernlan Family Head of Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) and Professor of Civil Engineering, has been named a fellow by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Board of Directors.
  • Dulcy Abraham, Professor of Civil Engineering, is the inaugural recipient of the ASCE Construction Institute Advancement of Women in Construction Award for excellence as a construction academic in the areas of teaching, research, and service, and demonstrated support, guidance, mentoring, and promotion of growth opportunities for the advancement of women in the construction profession.
  • An interdisciplinary team of Purdue engineering students, led by associate professor Zhi (George) Zhou, was one of the top 15 teams among 225 teams in the country selected as finalists in the EnergyTech University Prize 2024 competition.
  • With seed money from the College of Agriculture through Plant Sciences 2.0 and the USDA's Ag2PI: Agricultural Genome to Phenome program, associate professor Jinha Jung and his team are building Data to Science (d2s) — an online platform that initially will house data from unmanned aerial vehicles for crops and forestry. On this website, users share drone data instead of videos.
  • Yiheng Feng, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Assistant Director of the Center for Road Safety (CRS), has received the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award to fund his research investigating the cybersecurity problem in next-generation transportation infrastructure.
  • Four researchers at Purdue University, including Mohammad Jahanshahi and Panagiota Karava, received a total of $150,000 from the Trask Innovation Fund to strengthen the appeal of their patent-pending intellectual property for commercial use.
  • An interdisciplinary research team including Melba Crawford has been selected by the Office of Research to receive SPARK funding. Launched in early 2023, SPARK (Supporting Partnering for Advanced Research teamworK) is a strategic initiative that supports and empowers Purdue researchers to achieve national prominence by establishing cutting-edge research centers.


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