June 2018

Welcome to eConnections

Rao Govindaraju

With the school year officially at an end, many here at the Lyles School of Civil Engineering — myself included — find ourselves both reflecting on what we have accomplished this past semester and looking ahead on what is to come.

Looking back these past several months, I cannot help but feel a strong sense of pride at what our students, alums, faculty, and staff have accomplished. As you will see reading through the rest of eConnections, Purdue Civil Engineering has been involved with many research efforts, led several community-building projects, and has been recognized time and time again throughout the world for professional and academic excellence.

Looking ahead, easily the biggest moment coming up is Purdue University’s 150th anniversary. Established on May 6, 1869, Purdue has long since cemented its status as a world leader in education and research. Purdue Civil Engineering has grown along with the University for more than 130 years.

To celebrate Purdue’s upcoming sesquicentennial, the university has selected the theme Giant Leaps — a nod to both our historic past and a challenge to continue making world-defining changes. The year-long celebration will kick off in earnest this fall during Homecoming.

We, of course, intend to celebrate this year as well, as we have made many giant leaps of our own over these past 13 decades — both culturally and academically. In addition to Purdue’s first African-American and female engineering graduates coming from our school, our alumni, staff, and faculty have also made global giant leaps with their involvement in key international landmarks such as the Panama Canal, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Hoover Dam, Burj Khalifa and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Today, our giant leaps into the future include many advances in research and how we educate the civil engineers of tomorrow. From creating a program dedicated to developing plans for extraterrestrial habitation to revolutionizing how skyscrapers of the future will be built, the Lyles School of Civil Engineering is poised to make several great leaps forward in the decades to come.

I invite everyone to visit and I will be more than happy to share with you all past, present, and future works — and the many accomplishments of our alumni — when you next find yourself on campus. Also, be sure to send your feedback, contact information, and life and career news 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

Mete A. Sözen

Remembering Mete Sözen

Mete A. Sözen, Karl H. Kettelhut Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering, Purdue University died unexpectedly on April 5, 2018, just shy of his 88th birthday. Dr. Sözen was with his wife Joan visiting their daughter Ayshe and two grandsons in London, England, when he fell peacefully to sleep.

For all of us who knew Dr. Sözen, this marked the end of an era. Few people have guided and nurtured a field the way he led earthquake and structural engineering related to reinforced concrete systems over a period spanning six decades. He had a profound effect on many people and will long be remembered fondly by those who came into contact with him during his career.

From 1994 until 2016 Dr. Sözen taught at Purdue where he pursued what he called his “work” — teaching and inspiring students, helping enhance structural testing facilities of the school and consulting on a broad range of topics. Besides his research contributions in the field of earthquake engineering, he had a profound influence on the education of generations of researchers.

His maxim was that simplicity was the ultimate sophistication. Many of his former students have held leading positions in the structural engineering field during the past several decades. A favorite anecdote of his was one where someone approached him after a lecture to commend him for continuing the family dedication to excellence because he had enjoyed reading papers written by his father in the 1950s. Dr. Sözen said he was too embarrassed to admit that he was that father as well.

You can read more about Dr. Sözen on our School’s webpage dedicated to him and his accomplishments — Mete A. Sözen: A Collection of Personal Remembrances.

Our next Art of Teaching seminar, coming October 11th, will also be in dedication and celebration of Dr. Sözen’s career in teaching, and will be delivered by Dr. Polat Gülkan. All are invited to attend and share memories of Dr. Sözen.

In honor of Mete Sözen’s legacy, the Lyles School of Civil Engineering has created a memorial fund that will support graduate students. You can make a contribution by following this link: Dr. Sözen Memorial.

Upcoming Events

  • September 20 – Scholarship and Awards Banquet
  • September 22 – Homecoming Breakfast
  • October 3 – OTEC Breakfast

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!

Purdue CE offers Professional Masters

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering is pleased to offer a Professional Master’s Concentration within the Civil Engineering program. This new concentration is named: Civil Engineering with Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Management (CE-LEM).

General characteristics of this concentration include:

  • A terminal master’s degree with no thesis and no direct articulation to the doctoral degree.
  • Designed specifically to prepare university graduates for a career in industry and government, or to broaden the prospects of university graduates with careers in progress.
  • Incorporates professional skills and competencies component (management, supervision, leadership, entrepreneurship, etc.).
  • A full-time program of one to two years in length.
  • Possible part-time option.
  • Instruction is primarily residential, with a maximum of 25% allowed to be completed online.
  • A single cohort of students admitted into the concentration each fall semester.
  • Students in the concentration are ineligible for teaching/research assistantships or fellowships.

For more information, visit purdue.edu/CE/ProfMS

Professor Chip Blatchley explains to student Andres Valero the relation of flow rates, transmittance, and pathogen elimination at a school in El-Mamey, Dominican Republic. (Photo credit: Tony Minich)

Study Abroad Experience

Purdue Civil Engineering Master's student Tony Minich recently participated in the interdisciplinary service-learning course, "Water Resources in Developing Countries." During his time in the course, Tony wrote grants, designed hydraulics systems, collaborated, and fundraised for the project.

He also traveled to locations near Santiago, Chile, and worked with community members to install filtration systems, and both ultraviolet light and chlorine dosing treatments. During his involvement, Tony witnessed three drinking water systems successfully installed.

You can read about his experience here.

Purdue Civil Engineering graduates pose in front of Hampton Hall for family and friends.

Spring Commencement

Thank you to everyone who joined us in May for Spring Commencement. Nearly 100 graduate and undergrad students earned their civil engineering degrees and we wish them all the very best in their personal and professional pursuits.

Thank you to all of our participants and sponsors!

CE Open

It was another beautiful day for golf at our annual CE Open. This year, we held the outing at the Coyote Crossing Golf Club in West Lafayette, where we saw more than 70 golfers hit the links. Thanks again to our sponsors, and to everyone who joined us. We hope to see even more of you at next year’s event!

2018 Sponsors:

  • ARSEE Engineers
  • Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc.
  • Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd.
  • Marathon Petroleum Company
  • American Structurepoint
  • Jeffrey C. Miller/Watermark Engineering Resources
  • John Dabrowski/V3 Companies

Student Spotlights

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering recently began a new student feature series called "Student Spotlights." The goal of this new effort is to highlight some of our incredibly motivated and gifted students who do so much more than just make the grade.

You can read and watch all about our featured students on our spotlights page here.

During Purdue’s Day of Giving, the Lyles School of Civil Engineering hosted a series of games and displays out in front of Hampton Hall, including Purdue ASCE’s steel bridge.

Day of Giving

THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this the greatest Purdue Day of Giving, ever, with over $37.6 million raised in just 24 hours! And thank you to everyone who supported the Lyles School of Civil Engineering!

We received 349 gifts from alumni and friends. The alumni class with the highest participation was the Class of 2011, while the Class of 1964 raised the most money. Your participation helped CE raise over $600,000!

2018 DEA Recipients
From left: Purdue DEA 2018 recipients Gerald Lyles, Carlos Odio, and Milo Riverso.

Distinguished Engineering Alums

In February, Gerald Lyles (BSCE '64), Senior Vice President of Lyles Diversified Inc.; Carlos Odio (BSCE '65), Partner and Board Member of Valle Del Tarso S.A. and Ticofrut S.A.; and Milo Riverso (MSCE '82, PhD '84), President and CEO of STV Group Inc., were named recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award by the Purdue College of Engineering.

Read all about them and the rest of this year's DEA award recipients here.

From left: Purdue CEAAA 2018 recipients C.Y. David Yang, Daniel Liotti, Brian Quinn, Rodolfo Gedeon, Robert Holden II, and Brian Harlow.

Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Awards

In March, we named our Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Award recipients for 2018. Our honorees this year include Rodolfo Gedeon (BSCE 1960, MSCE 1961), Brian Harlow (BSCE 1978), Robert Holden II (BSCE 1990, MSCE 1992, PhD 1999), Daniel Liotti (BSCE 1985), Brian Quinn (BSCE 1989, MSCE 1991), and. C.Y. David Yang (BSCE 1991, MSCE 1993, PhD 1997).

Civil Engineering at Purdue has a long history of educating outstanding engineers – and the Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Awards gives the School the opportunity to recognize the career accomplishments of some of our most influential graduates. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The award applauds career achievements and contributions to the civil engineering profession. The recipients are selected by a faculty committee and approved by the entire civil engineering faculty.

Read all about this year's CEAAA award recipients here.

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.

Cassandra McKee delivers a monologue from William Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John
Cassandra McKee delivers a monologue from William Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John.

Shakespeare and civil engineering might seem incompatible – but Purdue has found a way for these seemingly unrelated disciplines to form a fruitful union.

Today, more than ever, civil engineers who want to rise in their profession need to be effective communicators. Realizing this, the Lyles School and its Advisory Council decided to expand communication offerings.

In 2014, the school transformed its writing course from a lecture to a lab that focuses on student projects and skill improvement. The school also added an entirely new public speaking course to its core classes.

Learn more here.

  • Matt Lovell (MSCE '08, PhD '10), associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rose-Hulman University, has received the American Concrete Institute’s Walter P. Moore Jr. Faculty Achievement Award. The honor recognizes professors with demonstrated technical competence, high character and integrity who have less than seven years of faculty service in teaching concrete design, materials or construction.
  • Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Ron Klemencic (BSCE '85), Chairman & CEO of Magnusson Klemencic Associates and Director of the Charles Pankow Foundation, has received the 2018 Award of Excellence from Engineering News-Record.
  • Aleksandra Radlinska (PhD '08), assistant professor of civil engineering at Penn State, has been elected a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) in recognition of her contributions to ACI.
  • Dr. Benjamin Colucci (MSCE '80, PhD '84) received the FHWA-USDOT Administrator's Public Service Award. This award recognizes outstanding leadership and accomplishments in advancing transportation education, research, and workforce development and strong partnership with the Federal Highway Administration.
  • William F. Brumund (BSCE '64, MSCE '65, PhD'69), former president and global CEO of Golder Associates, has been honored by ASCE as the 2018 Outstanding Projects And Leaders (OPAL) award-winner in management. The ASCE OPAL awards honor outstanding civil engineering leaders for their lifetime accomplishments. This year’s OPAL winners were honored at the 2018 OPAL Gala, March 15, in Arlington, Va.
  • Zhichao Lai received his B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2009 from Tongji University. He started his graduate work at Purdue in the same year, and completed his PhD in 2014 working with Prof. Varma in the area of steel-concrete composite members. In 2017, Dr. Lai was recruited by the Government of China and Fuzhou University as the top young researcher in the field of structural engineering.
  • Ali Mostafavi (PhD '13), assistant professor of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, was named one of the 2018 Rising Stars in Civil + Structural Engineering by Civil + Structural Engineering Magazine. The seventh annual Rising Stars in Civil + Structural Engineering recognizes 26 professionals, 40 years old or younger working in the United States, who have shown exceptional technical capability, leadership ability, effective teaching or research, or public service benefiting the civil and structural engineering professions, their employers, project owners, and society.

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.

  • CE undergrads Wanshi Hu and Carlos "Charlie" Tamayo earned the Margaret Julia Ward Award and the Bevan Blau Lewis Award, respectively, for their outstanding academic performance.
  • A team of Purdue engineers including CE student Alex Krivitsky won NASA’s University Student Design Challenge by designing the infrastructure necessary for a futuristic city to accommodate flying cars.
  • Sikai Chen, a doctoral student in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, has been awarded the 2018 Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship Award by the Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs (OIGP). The title of Sikai's dissertation is "Crash Factors and Roadway Design Implications: New Evidence in the Traditional Environment and Insights into Emerging Operating Environments."
  • PhD student Tianren Wu was recently named recipient of the prestigious ASHRAE Grant-in-Aid Award for 2018-2019. This $10,000 award is given to the most outstanding graduate students performing research in the High Performance Buildings or HVAC fields. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers considers applications from all over the world.
  • Congratulations to the Purdue Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Traffic Bowl Team on winning the Great Lakes District competition! This annual competition among ITE student chapter teams uses transportation planning and engineering topics for the clues, questions and answers. The Purdue team, consisting of Harshit Kapoor, Brandon Hardin, Cristhian Lizarazo, and Steven Zehr, will travel to Minneapolis, Minn. to compete against other district winners in the national competition, August 20-23, 2018.
  • PhD student Alana Lund has been selected as one of just 100 women across the nation to receive the prestigious P.E.O. Scholar Award for the 2018-2019 academic year. The P.E.O. Scholar Award recognizes scholarly excellence and academic achievement, coupled with aggressive career goals.
  • PhD student Miguel A. Montoya was selected by the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists (AAPT) to receive the 2018 AAPT Scholarship. The scholarship is funded by the association with the purpose of increasing the number of scientists and engineers available for careers in the general area of asphalt binder and mixture technologies.
  • Civil Engineering undergraduate student Harshit Kapoor and Multidisciplinary Engineering student Terry Babb earned awards in the 2017-18 Purdue University Student Soybean Innovation Competition.
  • PhD candidate Dong Yoon Song received the 2018 ITS Michigan Scholar Award from the Intelligent Transportation Society of Michigan for the best student poster at the 2018 Global Symposium on Connected and Automated Transportation and Infrastructure, held in Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Doctoral student Seyed Ali Ghahari has been appointed as a member to the Standing Committee on Tunnels and Underground Structures (AFF60) of Transportation Research Board (TRB) of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He was also selected by the World Bank to represent Purdue, as a student volunteer and participant, in the 2017 Annual Youth Summit at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • CE undergrad Cassandra (Cassie) McKee was selected as a 2018-19 Institute of Transportation Engineers Indiana Section Edward J. Cox Memorial Transportation Scholarship Awardee. She received this ITE award at the Purdue Road School Banquet held on March 7th.
  • PhD student Lisa Losada was selected as a 2018-19 Institute of Transportation Engineers Indiana Section Edward J. Cox Memorial Transportation Scholarship Awardee at the graduate level. She received this ITE award at the Purdue Road School Banquet held on March 7th.
  • Purdue University Trustee Scholar and undergrad Trevor Moore was selected as a 2018-19 Institute of Transportation Engineers Indiana Section Edward J. Cox Memorial Transportation Scholarship Awardee. He received this ITE award at the Purdue Road School Banquet held on March 7th.
  • Kyubyung Kang, a member in Dr. Makarand Hastak's research team in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, has been named as recipient of the Fall 2017 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. This top honor recognizes one CE graduate student for outstanding service to the Purdue University and to the community, service character, organizational involvements, as well as technical and academic achievements through research, teaching, scientific publications and technical awards.
  • CE undergrad Whitney Weidenbenner was named 2018 recipient of the Chi Epsilon John Focht, Sr. Scholarship for her academic achievements and campus involvement outside of the classroom.
  • Grad student Xinwu Qian took first place in Purdue's Health and Disease: Science, Technology, Culture and Policy Research Poster Session.
  • Leila Sadeghi, recent PhD graduate and current postdoc research associate of the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, was named a winner in the Graduate category of the 2016-17 Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) International Data Analysis Contest at the 97th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.
  • Grad student Peyman Yousefi has been awarded the Andrews Environmental Travel Grant in support of his graduate research. This highly competitive and prestigious award, which was established to support research focused on improving the world environment, supports travel for research relating to environmental issues.
  • Grad students Chenxi Yuan, Jaehyun Park and Xin Xu received first place in the AFH10 Poster Competition, held during the 2018 Transportation Research Board (TRB) annual meeting. Their poster was titled, "Risk-Based Prioritization of Construction Inspection."

  • The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) announced Dr. Edward M. Mikhail, professor emeritus of civil engineering at Purdue University, as the 2018 recipient of the Foundation's Arthur C. Lundahl-Thomas C. Finnie Lifetime Achievement Award. Mikhail is the 14th individual to receive this prestigious award and was recognized on stage during USGIF's GEOINT 2018 Symposium general session.
  • Larry Nies, professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering, received a One Brick Higher Award for his heroic work in helping save the life of a colleague earlier this year.
  • Jan Olek, professor of civil engineering and director of the North Central Superpave Center (NCSC), gave the Della Roy Lecture at the 9th Advances in Cement Based Materials conference, held June 11-12, 2018 in State College, Pennsylvania.


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!