January 2020

Looking ahead with 2020 vision

Rao Govindaraju

With year 2020 upon us, I find myself thinking about my vision for the School — and our School's vision for the future.

At the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, our vision is to remain a preeminent program through building on our existing strengths, maintaining an outstanding reputation, and by amplifying our impact on society. I am proud that our School's vision remains very much front and center in our minds — and it continues to be realized entirely in thanks to the inspiring work done each and every day by our incredible students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. It is the collective efforts and achievements by Purdue Civil Engineers — past, present, and future — that put this vision into focus and make it a reality.

That said, with a new year — and a new decade — come new (and renewed) goals and benchmarks we all aim to achieve. That revitalized passion to reach new heights and pursue a greater understanding can easily be felt throughout the halls, and I find myself inspired almost daily just from my interactions with all in the CE family.

It is this consistent pursuit of excellence at Purdue University that makes it such a joy to be here on campus. And it is my honor, both as an educator and an administrator, to be a part of that sense of innovation and exploration.

The decade has only begun but we have no intention of idly standing by. As always, we aim to lead, to inspire, and — most importantly — to learn. And I look forward to sharing our results with you all in the years to come.

I encourage you to share any of your personal milestones so that we may share them in our next edition of eConnections in June 2020. 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

Lyles School of Civil Engineering #5 in the Nation

For the second year in a row, the Purdue Lyles School of Civil Engineering has been recognized as a top 5 undergraduate program in the country.

U.S. News & World Report released its national rankings of undergraduate programs for 2020 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.

"It is an honor to be recognized – once again – as a top 5 undergraduate program in the country," said Rao S. Govindaraju, Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering and Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Professor of Civil Engineering. "For well over a century, the Lyles School of Civil Engineering has cultivated a tradition of consistent excellence through the incredible efforts of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. I look forward to seeing what we will accomplish in the years to come."

For more information about the 2020 undergraduate rankings, visit

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

Winter Commencement

Thank you to everyone who joined us in December for the winter commencement ceremony and festivities.

A total of nearly 100 graduate and undergraduate students earned their civil engineering degrees last semester. We were honored that so many of those graduates — along with their families and friends — joined us at Delon and Elizabeth Hampton Hall to celebrate.

We at the Lyles School of Civil Engineering wish all of our graduates the very best in their professional and personal pursuits.

Upcoming Events

  • January 22 – Alumni and Friends reception in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • February 16 – Alumni and Friends reception in Naples, Florida
  • March 16-21 – Purdue University Spring Break
  • March 16 – Alumni and Friends reception in Atlanta, Georgia
  • April 16 – Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Award (CEAAA) Celebration
  • May 15-17 – Purdue University Commencement Weekend

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!

Think Summer!

Starting this summer, The Lyles School of Civil Engineering will partner with Purdue's Summer College for High School Students for a one-week course for college credit entitled "Resiliency and Sustainability in Civil Engineering: Not Just Buzzwords."

Many extreme events, including earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes, impact how civil engineers design and build our communities. More so than before, resilience and sustainability factor prominently in designs as engineers create a better future for people and our planet.

In this one-week course, high school students will learn why terms such as "resilience" and "sustainability" are more than just buzz words, they are guiding principles that affect the future of our communities. Additionally, students will participate in hands-on learning activities while also getting a taste of what Purdue Boilermaker life is all about.

To apply or to learn more about Purdue's Summer College for High School Students and Purdue Civil Engineering's course, visit the program's website by going HERE.

View from My Office

With so many different career paths within civil engineering, one's office and place of work varies greatly from one professional to another. That variety extends to our Lyles School of Civil Engineering students as well.

With that in mind, we created a new webpage where our students can show off their unique views from their experiential learning opportunities: internships, co-ops, research, volunteering, and more! You can see and read more about their experiences by going HERE.

Student Spotlights

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering has 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.

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

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering created an official LinkedIn account for our alumni, students, faculty, and staff. We encourage you all to connect with us and share your successes. You can reach our LinkedIn page by going HERE.

  • The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) will honor Ron Klemencic, PE, SE (BSCE '85) with the Special Achievement Award at the 2020 NASCC: The Steel Conference (April 22-24 in Atlanta).
  • Geoff Dauksas, P.E., S.E, LEED AP (BSCE '03, MSCE '05) has been named to the 2020 class of ENR Midwest Top Young Professionals, one of 20 rising design and construction stars to be honored by the publication for their contributions to the industry and their communities.
  • The Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in West Java has officially appointed its first female rector since the first-tier state university was founded almost a century ago. Civil engineering professor N.R. Reini D. Wirahadikusumah (MSCE '96, PhD '99) was named rector after she won the most votes from the university's board of trustees.
  • The National Academy of Construction has elected Mark J. Perniconi (BSCE 1974, MSCE 1976), retired executive director of the Charles Pankow Foundation, and Carlos M. Hernandez (BSCE 1976), CEO of Fluor Corporation, as members of its class of 2019. They were inducted October 24 at the NAC annual meeting in Nashville, TN. The new class includes 39 inductees. Perniconi and Hernandez were selected from more than 300 leaders who were considered for Academy membership.
  • Chris Burke (BSCE '77, MS '79 and PhD '83) has received the prestigious 2019 Ray K. Linsley Award from the American Institute of Hydrology. The award recognizes Burke’s many contributions to the science and practice of surface water hydrology and the impact he has had on numerous communities by finding environmentally friendly solutions to water management problems.
  • Matthew H. Hebdon, P.E. (Ph.D. 2015), assistant professor in the Charles Edward Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia has been named the recipient of the 2019 Robert J. Dexter Memorial Award Lecture. The program provides an opportunity for individuals early in their careers in structural engineering to present a lecture on their steel bridge activities to the Steel Bridge Task Force and to participate in its semi-annual three-day meeting.
  • Kevin Fitzpatrick, PE (BSCE '85) has been selected to serve as the next President and CEO of Benesch. He will assume the role in September of 2020. Kevin is currently an Executive Vice President and serves as the company's Great Lakes Regional Manager, overseeing operations and business development for the Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Railroad Divisions. Kevin has played an integral role in shaping Benesch throughout his tenure with the company.
  • Tien Fang Fwa (PhD '85), Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the National University of Singapore, has been elected to the Singapore Academy of Engineering.
  • Tom Morales (BSCE 1975) returned to campus Nov. 3-5 as a member of the 2019 Old Masters – an exceptional group of alumni who have made significant contributions to their field of study and to society. While on campus, the Old Masters partake in classroom talks, meetings with several student organizations and a community-wide panel discussion.
  • Thanks to a significant gift from the Dudley Family Foundation, the first building in the new Engineering and Polytechnic Gateway Complex, a new 250,000-square-foot grand entrance, will be named Dudley Hall. The gift is courtesy of William (Bill) Dudley Jr. (BSCE '74, HDR '15) and Martha (Marty) Dudley (IUPUI AAS Architectural Drafting '79, Purdue Northwest-Hammond BS Building Construction Tech '81).
  • Bryan Erler (BSCE '69, MSCE '70) has been named the ASME president-nominee for 2020-2021. An ASME Fellow and member of the Board of Governors from 2015-2018, Erler has been involved in ASME codes and standards activities for more than 45 years.

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

  • Grad student Bortiorkor Alabi has been awarded the 2019-2020 Greater Indianapolis Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS) Chapter Helene M. Overly Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes an outstanding graduate female in the transportation industry and academia.
  • PhD student Theodora Konstantinou has received the Charley V. Wootan Memorial Award from the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC). The award is given annually for the best Doctoral dissertation and Master's thesis in the field of policy and planning in transportation studies. This national student award recognizes her outstanding Master's thesis, "Market Ado
  • Sikai Chen, a recently graduated PhD who worked with Professor Samuel Labi in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAT), has received both the Spring/Summer 2019 Civil Engineering Best Dissertation Award, and the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) Milton Pikarsky Award, a national level prize, for his thesis titled, "Safety Implications of Roadway Design and Management: New Evidence and Insights in The Traditional and Emerging (Autonomous Vehicle) Operating Environments."
  • PhD student Takahiro (Taka) Yabe (advised by Dr. Satish V. Ukkusuri) received 2nd place in the 2019 NetMob conference poster competition for his research titled, "Understanding post-disaster population recovery patterns."
  • PhD student Hemant Gehlot (advised by Dr. Satish V. Ukkusuri and Dr. Shreyas Sundaram) has been awarded an honorable mention as one of the three finalists for the Best Student Paper Award at the IFAC Workshop on Distributed Estimation and Control in Networked Systems (NecSys) 2019 for the paper entitled, "Approximation algorithms for the recovery of infrastructure after disasters under precedence constraints."
  • Congratulations to CE junior Amanda Lefebvre! She earned the exceptional leadership award from Engineers Without Borders USA. Additionally, a photo of her surveying Colquechata, Bolivia took 1st in the Purdue Global Engineering Programs and Partnerships Photo and Video Contest. Amanda is part of the Purdue EPICS Engineers Without Borders program that is working to design a water distribution system for the community. Additionally, students in the Purdue EPICS Global Air Quality Trekkers (GAQT) Nandi Clean Kitchen Study, led by Purdue CE Assistant Professor Brandon Boor took 1st and 2nd place in separate categories.
  • PhD students Herta Paola Montoya Rodriguez and Samuel Park have been selected by the Purdue Systems Collaboratory for the Systems Fellow Program. The assistantship is meant to support outstanding graduate students who conduct research addressing a systems problem or advancing systems science.
  • Alka Tiwari, a first-year Ph.D. student in the field of Hydrology and Hydraulics in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, has been awarded the 2019 NASA Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) fellowship to pursue her research work. The FINESST fellowship is a highly competitive program, and Alka is the only recipient this year from Purdue University.
  • Danielli de Melo Moura, PhD candidate in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, received an award for best poster in the civil engineering track at the 53rd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium (ARMA 2019) held in New York City in June 2019. Co-authored by Antonio Bobet, Edgar B. and Hedwig M. Olson Professor in Civil Engineering, the work is titled, "Influence of Flaw Geometry on Crack Coalescence across a Frictional Interface in a Rock Model Material."
  • Rih-Teng Wu, a PhD candidate from Smart Informatix Laboratory directed by Assistant Professor Mohammad Jahanshahi, received the best student paper award by the Structural Control and Health Monitoring Committee at ASCE Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) conference which was held at Caltech, Pasadena, CA on June 18-21, 2019. The title of Rih-Teng's paper is "Pruning Deep Convolutional Neural Networks for Efficient Edge Computing in Structural Health Monitoring."
  • PhD candidate Jessica Eisma (advised by Dr. Venkatesh Merwade) was named a recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) award. Jessica will be using the award to spend the Spring 2020 semester at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands working on the Transforming Weather Water data into value-added Information services for sustainable Growth in Africa (TWIGA) project with Prof. Nick van de Giesen.
  • Herta Montoya, a first year PhD student in civil engineering, was awarded 2nd place in the ASCE Dynamics Committee student paper presentation at the Engineering Mechanics Conference in Pasadena California on July 18-21, 2019.
  • PhD student Danielle Wagner was awarded a 2019-2020 ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Grant-in-Aid Award. Recipients are chosen on the basis of the scope of their research, as well as involvement in local ASHRAE chapters and related activities.

  • Shirley J. Dyke, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering, and Julio A. Ramirez, Karl H. Kettelhut Professor in Civil Engineering and NHERI-NCO Center Director, were invited to give keynote lectures at the 2019 Advances in Steel Structures Conference, held in Cairo, Egypt on December 17-19. 2019. Prof. Dyke’s talk was entitled, "Harnessing Real-Time Hybrid Simulation to Build Resilience,", and Prof. Ramirez spoke on the topic, "Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC): Structural Issues and Opportunities."
  • A team of Purdue and INDOT colleagues was recognized with an exceptional paper award by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) committee on Traffic Signal Systems. The paper, entitled "Using Connected Vehicle Data to Reassess Dilemma Zone Performance of Heavy Vehicles," reported a new algorithm and field test results obtained during testing on the US 231 Connected Corridor. The Purdue co-authors were Howell Li, Jijo Mathew, Enrique (Daniel) Saldivar-Carranza, and Darcy Bullock, Lyles Family Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Joint Transportation Research Program. Tom Platte and Ben Smith with the Indiana Department of Transportation were part of the research team and co-authors on the paper.
  • Susan M. Khalifah, P.E., S.E. was recognized as a 2019 finalist for the Staff Award for Professional Achievement at the 18th annual College of Engineering Staff Awards of Excellence banquet held at the Shively Club at Ross Ade Stadium on December 6th.
  • The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) will honor Amit Varma, Karl H. Kettelhut Professor in Civil Engineering and Director of Bowen Laboratory, with the Special Achievement Award at the 2020 NASCC: The Steel Conference (April 22-24 in Atlanta).
  • "THANKS FOR GIVING" has become a Multidisciplinary Engineering (MDE) annual event of recognition for faculty across the college and campus. MDE Seniors have an opportunity to nominate a professor who provided them a superior learning experience throughout their journey at Purdue. The 2019 Golden Squirrel Scholar with the most "shout outs" is Cary Troy, Associate Professor of the Lyles School of Civil Engineering.
  • Robert J. Frosch, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, a professor of civil engineering and senior associate dean of Facilities & Operations in the College of Engineering at Purdue University, has been named a Fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.
  • Luna Lu, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, has recently been named the ACPA Scholar in Concrete Pavement and Materials Science by the Indiana Chapter of the American Concrete Pavement Association.
  • Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of Construction Engineering and Management Makarand Hastak (PhD '94) was named the Dernlan Family Head of Construction Engineering and Management.
  • Samuel Labi, Professor of Civil Engineering and Associate Director of the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation (CCAT), delivered a keynote lecture titled, "Preparing Our Infrastructure for Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Operations: Challenges and Opportunities," at the 2019 International Conference on Smart Cities in Seoul, Korea on July 17, 2019.
  • Darcy Bullock, the Lyles Family Professor of Civil Engineering and director of the Joint Transportation Research Program at Purdue, testified on July 11th before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's Subcommittee on Research and Technology.
  • Jie Shan, Professor of Civil Engineering, along with Purdue researchers Bo Xu and Zhixin Li, have received the best paper award at the 2019 Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) Workshop EarthVision for their work entitled, "Urban Semantic 3D Reconstruction from Multiview Satellite imagery." Several other co-authors from Kitware, Inc., Columbia University, and Rutgers University contributed to the paper. Professor Shan has also been selected by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) to receive the Fairchild Photogrammetric Award.
  • Hubo Cai, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering and Management, and PhD student Xin Xu received 3rd place for their paper at the 2019 ASCE International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering (i3CE2019) in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The Purdue University Board of Trustees on June 14th ratified the naming of Jan Olek as the James H. and Carol H. Cure Professor in Civil Engineering.
  • The Purdue University Board of Trustees on June 14th ratified the naming of Antonio Bobet as the Edgar B. and Hedwig M. Olson Professor in Civil Engineering. Professor Bobet delivered a keynote lecture, titled "Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitats on the Moon and Mars," at the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA) 53rd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium on June 24th in New York City.
  • The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Oct. 10th ratified the naming of Melba Crawford as the Nancy Uridil and Francis Bossu Professor in Civil Engineering.
  • A paper authored by CE faculty including Hubo Cai, Dulcy Abraham, and Mark Bowman has been named the winner of the K.B Woods Award. This award is given annually by the Transportation Research Board for an outstanding paper published in the field of design and construction of transportation facilities.


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