January 2017

Welcome to eConnections

Rao Govindaraju

Happy 2017, everyone! To say the last 12 months have been eventful would surely be an understatement. Thankfully, we made it through and I am excited for what the new year will bring for our Lyles School of Civil Engineering family!

Before we look forward, however, let us look back on some of the events and accomplishments achieved by our students, staff, faculty, and alums over the past six months. Since our June edition of eConnections, the School of Civil Engineering has been hard at work to improve the educational experience for students and expand our resources for staff and faculty.

A noteworthy addition to our School is the Thomas A. Page Pavilion – named after its primary donor, Tom Page (BSCE ‘55, MSIA ‘63, HDR ‘94). The facility serves as a place for student teams to plan, design, fabricate and finish projects –  and will also be used for material staging for the adjacent Robert L. and Terry L. Bowen Laboratory for Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research. It is truly a lovely building and I invite you all to take a tour when you next visit our campus.

Tom also graced the cover of our recently-resurrected Transitions magazine which should have hit your mailboxes just a few weeks ago. After years without a publication, I am proud to say the annual magazine is back on a regular production schedule. I also have it on good authority that the 2017 edition will be even bigger and better than the one you just received, so be on the lookout for that in the coming months.

Another achievement our School earned this past semester was a #6 undergraduate program ranking in the United States by U.S. News & World Report! For several years now, our undergraduate and graduate programs have consistently been ranked among the top 10 in the country – and that is all thanks to our outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni. This, plus our #1 CE school in the world ranking, could not have been achieved without the incredible work and effort put forth by each and every one of you.

I look forward to sharing even more of our accomplishments with you in this edition of eConnections, and in our IMPACT magazine, which comes out later this spring.

Also, be sure to send us your feedback, contact information, and life and career news. Send your updates to Kathy Heath at heathk@purdue.edu.

All the best,
Rao S. Govindaraju
Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering
and Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Professor of Civil Engineering

Tom Page
Tom Page at the Page Pavilion site during the building’s ribbon cutting ceremony on October 13, 2016.

Thomas A. Page Pavilion Opens

Dedicated to amplifying impact and providing students with the tools to grow and succeed, the Purdue Lyles School of Civil Engineering recently completed construction of a new building, designed for student collaboration and competition.

This fall, the school unveiled its newest addition — the Thomas A. Page Pavilion. The new facility — named after its primary donor, Tom Page (BSCE ‘55, MSIA ‘63, HDR ‘94), serves as a place for student teams to plan, design, fabricate and finish projects. Part of the building will also be used for material staging for the adjacent Robert L. and Terry L. Bowen Laboratory for Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research.

“This was identified as a problem that had an obvious solution,” Page says. “Our students needed a place where they could work on their projects. And they needed a place where they could store their work. When I was told about this potential solution, I felt a need to help — and, looking at the facility now, I know I made the right decision.”

Page said he hopes the facility will be used by the students as a place where they gain experience in working with others and learn the value of collaboration.

“Right from the start, I wanted this to be a more thoughtful project,” he says. “I wanted this to be a place where these students could work, work together, and share ideas. In my professional experience, one of the biggest things I’ve ever learned was that the chance for success dramatically increases when you are able to collaborate with others and collect new ideas and perspectives. I look forward to seeing what our students will develop now.”

Page Pavilion Dedication
The Thomas A. Page Pavilion serves as a place for student teams to
plan, design, fabricate and finish projects.

Upcoming Events

  • January 18 – Alumni and Friends Reception in Indianapolis, IN
  • March 26 – Purdue Day of Giving
  • April 6 – CEAAA Banquet
  • June 9 – CE Open

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, and Instagram accounts. Join us, interact, and share!

Graduation Commencement
The Lyles School of Civil Engineering held commencements for around
30 undergraduate students and 50 grad students.

Fall Semester Graduates

We are so proud of our winter graduates! The Lyles School of Civil Engineering held commencements for around 30 undergraduate students and 50 grad students. A celebration for our students was held in the Lyles I2I Lab in Hampton Hall. We, again, would like to wish all of our students the best of luck, whether it be in their careers or continuing their education.

Bridge School
Professor Robert Connor started an online steel bridge course in 2016 and hopes
to add it to CE’s curriculum in the near future.

Professor Connor Teaches Steel Bridge Night School

Purdue University is offering its bridge-building expertise on a global level.

While the summer is typically a time for students and faculty alike to rest and recharge, Purdue Lyles School of Civil Engineering Professor and Director of CAI and S-BRITE, Robert Connor, decided to take his lesson plan to the internet. He, along with several steel and bridge experts across the U.S., offered an online course, entitled “Steel Bridge Night School.”

Connor, the creator of this online course, said he came up with the idea because the steel bridge industry told him that new hires rarely have any practical knowledge about the job.

“I kept hearing from employers that they basically have to completely teach their graduate hires about bridge building,” Connor said. “The recent graduates that actually had knowledge about the subject were rare and highly sought after.”

Unfortunately, Connor said, while Purdue does offer classes related to steel bridges, it is not something students take until they’re working on their Masters.

“This was a concept of mine I had a few years ago and I had been looking for a way to offer a course on steel bridges,” Connor said. “At the graduate level at Purdue we offer courses, but – at the undergraduate level – there wasn’t a way good way to fit in bridge building.”

The solution? Move the course out of the classroom and offer it online – and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) was more than happy to lend a hand.

“We knew there was a demand out there, there just weren’t enough schools able to teach bridge design of any type,” said Bill McEleney, managing director of the National Steel Bridge Alliance – Division of the AISC. “Right now – if companies want a bridge designer – they pretty much have to train them themselves. This course is a good way to jump-start a new hire and get them in the process of bridge design.”

The eight-session course includes lessons on fabrication, design and stability, and fatigue and fracture design. Connor taught the fatigue design session. Other sessions were taught by industry professionals or professors from universities including the University of Texas and the University of Delaware.

The subject matter – and the impressive list of instructors – made it an immediately-popular online course, McEleney said, with around 1,000 spectating the video courses.

“All the feedback I have gotten has been positive,” he said. “It’s easily become one of the most popular classes AISC has ever done.”

Currently, the class does not offer college credits, but Connor said he aims to change that at Purdue in the near future.

“This first time around was sort of a pilot course for us to see how feasible it would be and if there was any interest,” Connor said. “After seeing how successful the course was, I’m definitely moving forward with seeing what can be done to make this an accredited course at Purdue.”

Martha Dicks Stevens

CE Honors 120th Anniversary of Martha Dick Stevens’s Graduation

This spring marks the 120th anniversary of the graduation of Martha Dick Stevens — Purdue’s first female engineer, and a civil engineer, at that.

Graduating in 1897, Martha was the definition of a trailblazer — and she continues to serve as an inspiration for faculty, students, staff and alumnae.

“It’s just so hard to imagine what it must have been like for her,” says Lyles School of Civil Engineering senior Keelee Roggenbuck. “I think it took such amazing passion for civil engineering to fight against what was expected then and pursue what she loved. This is a person who got her engineering degree before women even had the right to vote in America.”

In honor of Martha’s achievement, the School of Civil Engineering will be hosting a series of events and guest speakers. Event details will be coming soon, so be sure to visit our website and social media pages for further details.

Engineering Art

The Art of Teaching | Engineering Art

Teaching is an art and so is engineering! Mastering both arts requires interest, talent, role models, and a lifetime of dedication.

A series of seminars will be held at Purdue's Lyles School of Civil Engineering this year on the art of teaching engineering. The speakers are renowned teachers and mentors whose effectiveness as teachers has been proven by the success of their students.

Go here for more information.

Scholarship Recipients
Lyles School of Civil Engineering students were awarded nearly 300 scholarships in 2016.

More Than $800,000 in Scholarships

Students of the Lyles School of Civil Engineering were awarded nearly 300 scholarships in 2016! These scholarships went to more than 200 of our graduate and undergraduate students, totaling more than $800,000!

Many of these students were honored this past fall during our annual awards banquet. These scholarships would not be possible without our incredibly generous donors. Because of their generosity, our students will continue to soar to new heights and make our School proud!

Purdue ITE National Championship Team
Our ITE team members are Maggie McNamara, Michelle Mekker, Thomas Hall, and Lucy Richardson.

Purdue CE Wins National ITE Bowl

Congratulations to our Purdue Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Traffic Bowl Team on winning the National ITE Traffic Bowl competition in Anaheim this past summer! This is an annual competition among ITE student chapter teams, and uses transportation planning and engineering topics for the clues, questions and answers.

Our ITE team members are Maggie McNamara, Michelle Mekker, Thomas Hall, and Lucy Richardson. They are advised by Purdue Civil Engineering Professor and JTRP Director Darcy Bullock.

CE Homecoming Breakfast
Hundreds of hungry guests found their way to the Lyles I2I Lab
where our faculty served up sizzling omelets.

Order Up! Boiler Up!

It was another delicious Homecoming Day in Hampton Hall! Hundreds of hungry guests found their way to the Lyles I2I Lab where our faculty served up sizzling omelets. The Homecoming breakfast is a long-time tradition for the School and always so much fun. Thanks to everyone who came out and we hope to see even more of you next fall!

Why I Love Being a Civil Engineer

Why do YOU love being a civil engineer?  Send us a fun, job-related picture and brief description that shows why you love working as a civil engineer. Our favorite entries will be featured in the next edition of eConnections. Send your photos and a brief description to Civil Engineering Marketing and Communications Director, Drew Stone, at stone91@purdue.edu.

Here are this edition’s submissions:

Baki Ozturk (PhD ’03): I am honored and it has always been a privilege for me to be a graduate of Purdue University. I served as the Founding President of Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Student Chapter at Purdue, and served as the founding Chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, since 2013.

Jason Clearwaters, P.E., P.S.  (BSCE ’03, BSLSE ’03): Why I love being a civil engineer is the excitement of designing and building airports. Standing only 300 feet from a nearly one million-pound aircraft on take-off is something to experience, and it never gets old. It provides great satisfaction knowing that your work helps develop and maintain the safest and most efficient aerospace system in the world, while moving people and cargo 24/7/365.

Did You Know Header

  • School hires Student Experience Director: This past summer, our School hired alum Sue Khalifah, P.E., S.E. (BSCE ‘99) as its Student Experience Director. Sue has a strong civil engineering professional and philanthropic background and is a self-described “proud Boilermaker.”

    “I have a strong passion for working with students and for my alma mater,” Sue said. “It has been a dream of mine to work for the School that opened so many paths for me. My goal is to help our students find their paths as well.”

    Sue also wrote a letter for the Indiana Professional Engineer about her role at Purdue. You can read her letter here. You can send your questions and feedback to Sue at skhalif@purdue.edu.
  • CESAC Career Fair was a hit: The Annual CESAC Career Fair saw nearly 1,000 job-seeking Boilermaker students in attendance this year with around 100 companies there looking to offer full-time employment, internship, and co-op opportunities!

Career Fair
The CESAC Career Fair is held in the Purdue Memorial Union.

  • Gene Lamberson delivers 200th guest lecture session: Longtime Purdue Civil Engineering friend Gene Lamberson (BSCE ’63, MSCE ’65) officially delivered his 200th guest lecture session this year. To thank him for all the hours spent at Purdue, we presented Gene with a plaque, commemorating his service. Thanks again, Gene!

Gene Lamberson
Gene Lamberson is presented a commemorative plaque by Kathy Heath.

Alumni Notes Header

  • Bill Dudley (BSCE '74) has been named the recipient of the prestigious LNG "Executive of the Year" award at the 17th CWC World LNG Summit in Barcelona, Spain. Mr. Dudley earned the award for making "an outstanding contribution to the development and future of the LNG industry in the past year" according to the CWC Group, which organized the three-day event drawing more than 500 LNG leaders from around the world.
  • Mark Ringenberg (BSCE ’80) was selected as the 2015 US Army Corps of Engineers Program Manager of the Year. He retired from the Corps of Engineers in January 2016 after a 38½-year career that began in 1977 as a Purdue Civil Engineering Co-op student. In September 2016 he completed his second term on the Engineering Alumni Association Board of Directors for the College of Engineering.
  • Ron Klemencic (BSCE '85), Chairman and CEO of Magnusson Klemencic Associates and Charles Pankow Foundation Board Member, was named the recipient of the Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

  • Joseph Louis, recent PhD graduate, used technology he was working on while he was pursuing the degree to co-found SAMCRO Technologies LLC along with his adviser, Phillip Dunston. SAMCRO stands for Simulation Analysis Monitoring and ContRol of Operations. The technology’s utilization of sensors and a software platform could lead to greater efficiency at future construction sites.

  • PhD alumnae Richa Ojha and Meenu Ramadas, along with Dr. Rao S. Govindaraju, were the 2016 recipients of the ASCE State-of-the-Art of Civil Engineering Award. The annual award is for scholarly review, evaluation, and documentation of the scientific and technical information needed by the profession.

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

We'll make sure you get School information, news from campus, and event invitations. We'll also share your news and celebrate awards and achievements in our newsletters.

Student Notes Header

  • Grad student Xianyuan Zhan was awarded the prestigious JSMF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Complex Systems this year. The James S. McDonnell Foundation was established in 1950 by aerospace pioneer James S. McDonnell to “improve the quality of life,” and does so by contributing to the generation of new knowledge through its support of research and scholarship. Read more here.
  • Grad student Tariq Usman Saeed has been awarded a one semester sponsorship by Fulbright to attend MIT's Advanced Study Program (ASP) for Fall 2016.

  • Grad student Andres Rondon was awarded first place in the 24th Rudy Scavuzzo Student Paper Symposium and Competition at the 50th Anniversary of the ASME Pressure Vessels & Piping Conference, held in July 2016 in Vancouver, Canada.

  • Grad students Alana Wilbee and Ghazi Binarandi had the opportunity to travel to the U.K. to participate in the 2016 Asia-Pacific-Euro Summer School on Smart Structures Technology, held at Cambridge University from June 24 - July 13. Professor Shirley Dyke was an invited speaker.

  • PhD student Thomas Hall was selected to receive an Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year. The Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Universities and Grants Program and awards competitive fellowships to students in transportation-related disciplines.

  • PhD student Anahita Modiriasari won the best poster award at the 50th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium in Houston. She received the recognition for her work titled, “Monitoring rock damage caused by cyclic loading using seismic wave transmission and reflection.”

  • CE students Michelle Mekker and Margaret McNamara placed first in the poster contest of the Midwestern + Great Lakes ITE conference held in Chicago. Their poster was titled, "Characterizing interstate crash rates based on traffic congestion using probe vehicle data."
  • PhD student Adnan Rajib, working with Professor Venkatesh Merwade, won First Prize in the 2016 Annual ASFPM Student Paper Competition.

Faculty & Staff Notes Header

  • The first New Horizons grant has been awarded by Purdue University to a team of researchers proposing to create a program in Extraterrestrial Habitat Engineering – believed to be the first such university program. Members of this team include Professor of Civil Engineering Antonio Bobet, Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering Shirley Dyke, and Professor of Civil Engineering, and Center Director of the Network Coordination Office for the National Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure, Julio Ramirez.
  • LTAP Training Manager Rich Domonkos, Program Administrator for External Relations Kathy Heath, and Graduate Administrator Jenny Ricksy were recognized as finalists for the 2016 College of Engineering Staff Awards of Excellence at the annual staff awards banquet held at the Shively Club on Dec. 2. Jenny was named the recipient of the Professional Achievement Award.
  • CE and EEE Professor, Chad Jafvert, is part of a Purdue-affiliated startup that has developed a low-cost, low-maintenance slow sand water filter technology to better provide clean and safe drinking water to schools and communities in developing countries around the world. Read more here.

  • The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) awarded the 2016 Innovation Award for the Peer-to-Peer Adaptive Signal Control System in Moab, Utah. Purdue's Lucy Richardson, Chris Day, and Professor Darcy Bullock worked with UDOT colleagues Mark Taylor and Matthew Luker to evaluate this system.

  • Associate Professor Joe Sinfield was named Director of the College of Engineering Innovation and Leadership Studies Program. This program includes Engineering’s Innovation and Leadership Minor for undergraduates in any major in Engineering, a graduate-level research component to fuel the program with research-derived insights into repeatable patterns of innovation success, and a service component to help enhance the innovation efforts of units and organizations across the campus.

  • Edgar B. and Hedwig M. Olson Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, Kumares Sinha, received the inaugural MAIREPAV Lifetime Achievement Award at the 8th International Conference on Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Pavements in Singapore.

  • Professor Satish Ukkusuri was selected as an honorary professor of Tsinghua University for 2016-19. The selection is based on a competitive process and is in recognition of academic contributions and international reputation. Prof. Ukkusuri will provide guidance in the area of transportation networks and develop research collaborations in this area.

  • Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of Construction Engineering and Management, Makarand Hastak, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering and Management, Nader Naderpajouh, received the 2016 Best Peer Reviewed Paper Honorable Mention by ASCE’s Journal of Management in Engineering. Their paper, co-written with CEM grad student Juyeong Choi, is titled, “Exploratory Framework for Application of Analytics in the Construction Industry.”

  • Professor of Civil Engineering Jan Olek was selected to receive the ACI Foundation - Concrete Research Council - Robert E. Philleo Award. This honor is being bestowed specifically for Prof. Olek's life-long contributions to advancements in concrete materials science and translating research findings into concrete infrastructure applications, as well as for training and mentoring generations of concrete researchers and scientists. The award was presented at the 2016 ACI Concrete Convention and Exposition this October in Philadelphia.


Your support makes it possible for the Lyles School of Civil Engineering to significantly
impact the lives of our students, our school, and all our constituents. We thank you for
your continued support!