January 2019

Welcome to eConnections

Rao Govindaraju

The new year is upon us — and I am sure I am not the only one still wondering where 2018 went. The past 12 months were both an exciting and fast-paced time here at Purdue University and I expect it to continue throughout 2019 as well.

At the forefront is, of course, Purdue’s sesquicentennial. The yearlong "Giant Leaps" celebration of the university’s 150th year kicked off this past fall and will continue with a final Homecoming weekend 2019 bash.

Each month, Purdue has highlighted a different college or organization. The College of Engineering will be highlighted this February — and we will be hosting two major events here in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering.

The first is our annual Bridge Bust on Feb. 22. This event will see more than 200 middle and high school students from Indiana and surrounding states on campus as they test the strength of their balsa wood bridges at the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center. This all-day event is put together by the Purdue Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and will be live-streamed during the morning session.

Our second event will be a lecture and luncheon on Feb. 26 where we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of David Robert Lewis' graduation from the Purdue School of Civil Engineering. Earning his Civil Engineering degree in 1894, Lewis was Purdue’s first black engineering graduate and would go on to become both an educator and a businessman. Dr. Mamon Powers, Jr. (BSCE '70, HDR '14), Chairman and CEO of Powers & Sons Construction Company, will lead the lecture.

While February is "our month," we intend to participate in a number of other sesquicentennial celebratory activities in the months to follow and we will be sure to keep you updated as we finalize our plans. However, the one event I can confidently confirm will be our annual Homecoming Breakfast, held on Oct. 12. This will be the university’s final day of the sesquicentennial celebration and I am looking forward to it — and to a victory against Maryland!

All the events I mentioned above are open, so I hope you can make it to one or all of them. And, while you are on campus, I encourage you to come visit us. I will be more than happy to share with you all past, present, and future works — and the many accomplishments of our alums.

Also, be sure to send your feedback, contact information, and life and career news to Kathy Heath at so that we may share the news!

All the best,

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

Purdue CE ranked #5 in the nation

Purdue Civil Engineering Ranked #5 in the Nation

The Purdue Lyles School of Civil Engineering has been recognized as a top 5 undergraduate program in the country.

U.S. News & World Report has released its national rankings of undergraduate programs for 2019 with Purdue Civil Engineering ranked #5 in the nation. The undergraduate rankings are computed from the responses to a survey sent to deans, heads, and selected senior faculty.

Purdue CE has been consistently ranked as a top 10 undergraduate program by U.S. News & World Report for over a decade.

"I am honored that our School has been consistently recognized as having one of the best civil engineering programs in the country," said Rao S. Govindaraju, Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering and Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Professor of Civil Engineering. "These rankings are a reflection of the incredible efforts of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni — and I look forward to seeing what we all can accomplish together in the future."

For more information about the 2019 undergraduate rankings, go here.

A full listing of the Purdue Engineering national rankings can be viewed here.

Upcoming Events


  • January 16 - Alumni and friends reception in French Lick, IN


  • February 17 – Alumni and friends reception in Naples, FL
  • February 22 – 40th Annual Bridge Bust
  • February 26 – David Robert Lewis lecture and luncheon


  • April 4 – Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Awards Celebration
  • April 24 – Purdue Day of Giving


  • May 10 – Graduate student commencement
  • May 11 – Undergraduate student commencement

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!

CE undergrad Annie Chen

Student Spotlights

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering created a student feature series called “Student Spotlights.” The goal of this effort is to highlight some of our incredibly motivated and gifted students who do so much more than just excel in the classroom.

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

The First Step

The First Step

Since its founding in 1887, Purdue University's School of Civil Engineering has been dedicated to the advancement of society – through not only research and implementation, but cultural progressiveness as well. One of the School's first significant cultural achievements came in 1894 with the graduation of David Robert Lewis – Purdue's first black engineering graduate.

It has been nearly 125 years since Lewis earned his BS in Civil Engineering. In honor of this milestone, we will be hosting a lecture and luncheon on Feb. 26th in the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering. Purdue Civil Engineering alumnus and Chairman and CEO of Powers & Sons Construction Company Dr. Mamon Powers, Jr. (BSCE '74, HDR '14) will lead the lecture.

Contact Lyles School of Civil Engineering Director of Development Operations and Donor Stewardship Courtney Schmidt at for further details.

CE grads at winter commencement

Fall Commencement

Thank you to everyone who joined us in December for our Fall Commencement celebration. Nearly 100 graduate and undergraduate students earned their civil engineering degrees and we wish them all the very best in their personal and professional pursuits.

Professional Masters

Professional Masters

Our new Professional Master's concentration provides students the opportunity to earn their graduate degrees in just one year and strengthens a student's competitive edge for a career in industry. Apply before April 1st for Fall 2019 admission!

Click here for more details.

Career Path Survey

As a graduate of the Purdue Civil Engineering program, your feedback is a valuable part of our efforts to provide the most accurate and comprehensive data to our prospective students. We are requesting your assistance in completing a short survey which can be found here. The data obtained from this survey will be used to provide information on the broad career opportunities available as graduates of our program.

Thank you for your assistance in this important capacity!

CE into the Future


Purdue Civil Engineering researchers continually take Giant Leaps. To better showcase their dynamic and wide-ranging work, we've created a new website, CE Into the Future:

Be sure to check in regularly for our latest published research!

Exploration into Purdue CE

Exploration into Purdue Civil Engineering Video

Purdue civil engineers are shaping the world! From the communities we live in to the air we breathe and water we drink, civil engineers are constantly working to make the planet a better place to live. Civil engineering is a diverse and incredibly wide-reaching field that affects nearly every facet of our lives.

Watch this video to learn more about us!

Dominique Oden
Dominique Oden

Going with the Flow

Making the jump from high school to college basketball, Purdue Civil Engineering junior Dominique Oden says she just wanted to contribute to a winning team. She's done far more — scoring more points in her first two seasons than all but three other Boilermakers in the program's history.

As a civil engineering student focused on architectural engineering, Oden is equally proficient in her sophomore classrooms. In fact, the pull to Purdue, after Oden turned down offers from a couple of Ivies (Harvard and Princeton) and other schools, happened "because I wanted a great academic school and a great sports school," she says.

Read more about her 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


Lyles School of Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Brandon Boor’s research story "Babies stir up clouds of bio-gunk when they crawl" was Purdue University’s #1 most popular research story  for 2018.

See the full Top 10 list here.

  • The Center for Security Research and Education (CSRE) at Penn State University has announced that Caitlin Grady (PhD 2015), assistant professor of civil engineering, has been selected as the center's inaugural Faculty Fellow. The fellowship will provide funding beginning in January 2019 for Grady’s security-related research.
  • Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Ron Klemencic (BSCE '85) has been selected to receive the 2019 OPAL award — presented by ASCE — for his innovation and excellence in civil engineering design. This year's OPAL leadership award winners will be honored at the 2019 OPAL Gala, March 14, in Arlington, VA.
  • The National Academy of Construction has elected Harold F. Force (BSCE 1973, MSCE 1974), president of Force Construction Company, Inc., and executive vice president of Force Design, Inc., as a member of its class of 2018. He was formally inducted on October 11 during the NAC annual meeting, held at the US Grant Hotel. The 2018 class includes 37 new inductees. More than 300 leaders were considered for the selective NAC election process.
  • Paul Amico (BSCE '96), Associate Vice President and Project Manager at Carollo Engineers, was inducted into Purdue's Office of Professional Practice Cooperative Education Hall of Fame on September 14th.
  • Adam McAlpine (BSCE '00) has been named engineering director for the city of Valparaiso, Indiana. He formerly served as Valparaiso's chief deputy engineer, joining the city in 2010.
  • Cheryl Cunningham (BSCE '80) was recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Indiana for her significant contributions to the practice of engineering. Cheryl recently founded and serves as president for “I Can Be An Engineer,” a 501(c)3 not for profit founded to inspire young minds to learn about engineering.
  • Iason Konstantzos (Ph.D. ’16) started as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Aug. 13, 2018.

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

  • Sayan Dey, a PhD student in hydraulics and hydrology, has been selected as Purdue's 2018 Esri Development Center (EDC) Student of the Year for his work on "Watershed scale River Channel Morphology Model: An ArcMap tool for automated generation of river channel geometry."
  • Purdue civil engineering students took first place in the 2018 International Bridge Competition, tied with Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. The team consisted of undergraduate students Hassan Bin Ammar, Eshana Kolli, Ziyan Lu, Darryl Sexton, Tianlong Sun, Ertica Susanto, Charley Yang, and PhD student Kinsey Skillen. Support for the team was provided by Prof. Santiago Pujol, Associate Professor Ayhan Irfanoglu, and Visiting Professor Luis Fargier.
  • Soohyun Yang, a PhD student supervised by Professor Suresh Rao, together with Dr. Kyungrock Paik (Professor at Korea University; former Curtis Visiting Professor), Dr. Gavan McGrath and others were recognized for their paper titled, "Functional topology of evolving urban drainage networks." The paper garnered the Editors' Choice Award from Water Resources Research. The award is given to about 1% of published articles in any calendar year.
  • PhD students Sikai "Sky" Chen and Tariq U. Saeed have been nominated to participate in the 2019-2020 Schmidt Science Fellows program. Not only is this a high honor for the students, but also for Purdue, which, in the first year of the program, was selected as one of the elite universities around the globe eligible to nominate potential fellows.
  • CE undergrad Alexis Marks has been awarded the Donald C. and Marion E. Currier Scholarship. This award, presented by the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County (IN), provides full tuition, fees, an allowance for books and on-campus housing or off-campus living allowance for up to six semesters at Purdue University.
  • Grad student Ting-Wei Wang has been named one of five students to receive the 2018-2019 Daniel P. Jenny Research Fellowship from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute. The program connects professors and students with industry experts to advance research in precast concrete. In addition, Ting-Wei was also selected as the recipient of the Alan Mattock Graduate Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to only one of the five students who received the PCI Fellowship.
  • John Mott was awarded the Fall 2017 Civil Engineering Best Dissertation Award and will be recognized this fall at the Civil Engineering Scholarship and Awards Banquet.
  • Doctoral student Srinath Shiv Kumar was awarded first place in the North American Society of Trenchless Technology's No-Dig Show student poster competition for his research titled, "Leveraging Big-Data and Deep Learning for the Condition Assessment of Wastewater Pipelines."
  • PhD student Tho Le spent last summer collaborating with faculty at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands on a project matching and routing strategies for emerging crowd-shipping systems.
  • Tariq U. Saeed, Hugh W. and Edna M. Donnan Doctoral Candidate of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems Engineering in Purdue University's Lyles School of Civil Engineering, is the 2018 winner of the Jack E. Leisch Fellowship Award. With a strong showing as runner-up for this year's fellowship is CE doctoral student Seyed Ali Ghahari.
  • Dr. Anahita Modiriasari received the 2018 Dr. Neville G.W. Cook Ph.D. Dissertation Award for the best Ph.D. thesis in rock mechanics and rock engineering. The award is given by ARMA, the American Rock Mechanics Association. A plaque, with the award, was presented to Dr. Modiriasari at the awards banquet during the 52nd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Conference in Seattle.

  • On Oct. 12, the Purdue University Board of Trustees ratified five named faculty positions within the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, including Ernest "Chip" Blatchley (Lee A. Rieth Professor in Environmental Engineering), Ayman Habib (Thomas A. Page Professor of Civil Engineering), Chad Jafvert (Lyles Family Professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering), Julio Ramirez (Karl H. Kettelhut Professor in Civil Engineering), and Amit Varma (Karl H. Kettelhut Professor in Civil Engineering).
  • Debra "Deb" Burrow, David M. Rater, and Nadezhda "Nadya" Zyaykina were recognized as finalists for the 2018 College of Engineering Staff Awards of Excellence at the annual staff awards banquet held on December 7th. Nadya Zyaykina was named the recipient of the Professional Achievement Award.
  • On Dec. 11, Lyles Family Professor of Civil Engineering Chad Jafvert was inducted into the University's Book of Great Teachers - honoring outstanding teaching faculty who have demonstrated sustained excellence in the classroom. This recognition is held every five years.
  • Associate Professor Panagiota Karava has been appointed as the Jack and Kay Hockema Associate Professor in Civil Engineering. This is the first "Rising Star" professorship designed to recognize faculty members in the early stages of their career.
  • CE faculty David Yu and Venkatesh Merwade, together with graduate students Nikhil Sangwan, Kyungmin Sung and others received the Editors' Choice Award from Water Resources Research for their paper titled, "Incorporating institutions and collective action into a socio-hydrological model of flood resilience." The award is given to about 1% of published articles in any calendar year.
  • Indiana LTAP has named Rich Domonkos as the new Program Manager. Rich has been with the Indiana LTAP Center for 11 years. As Training Specialist, he managed the training program and assisted with technology transfer in the form of technical manuals, short courses, and seminars.
  • Purdue University has been awarded $70 million to lead a consortium to co-create research solutions for developing countries. Serving as co-principal investigator for the proposal was Civil Engineering Associate Professor Joe Sinfield.
  • Luna Lu, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, along with graduate student Aline Elquist and a team of several researchers from Indiana University, has won the 2018 Disease Diagnostics INventors Challenge with $30,000 in funding for a one-year project period.
  • A recently-established College of Engineering center has made three seed grant awards in the first year of its seed grant competition, one of which was awarded to Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering Shirley Dyke and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ilias Bilionis, "Automating Exposure and Probabilistic Vulnerability Quantification for Assets in the Built Environment using Street-View Images,”
  • Professor Jon Fricker received the 2018 D. Grant Mickle Award from the Transportation Research Board. The award was given for his paper titled, "Bundling Bridge and Other Highway Projects: Patterns and Policies."
  • Mohammad Jahanshahi, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, was awarded the 2017 Kobori Prize recognizing the best paper published in Structural Control and Health Monitoring (SCHM).
  • Professor Venkatesh Merwade received the 2018 Indiana Water Resources Association (IWRA) Outstanding Achievement Award in academic sector at its annual symposium in Bloomington, Indiana on June 27, 2018. The IWRA award recognizes individuals who have made significant contribution to the Indiana Water Resources Community through research and technical advances, information dissemination and education.
  • Rebecca S. McDaniel, P.E., Ph.D., technical director at the North Central Superpave Center at Purdue University, has been elected to the board of directors of ASTM International, an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.


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