CE Impact Magazine - Spring 2017

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Civil engineering undergrads make waves in SURF program

Purdue University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program offers students a rich opportunity to take part in academic research — something students typically may not experience until graduate school. In addition to researching with faculty and grad students, SURF participants are paid for their efforts, get to attend professional development and research seminars, present their research discoveries at the SURF symposium, and enjoy social activities with other members.

Active, collaborative environments improve learning

Over the past five years, faculty in the Lyles School have implemented the IMPACT-style classroom methodology into undergraduate classes. The classroom setup emphasizes greater student-teacher interaction, smaller class sizes and in-class collaborative work. (IMPACT stands for Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation.)

Students cook up a fix for unsafe stoves in Kenya

On the surface, it seems like a noble but simple task: Improve the cooking methods employed by the families in the Nandi community of western Kenya. However, the challenge is quite complicated, explains project leader Brandon Boor, assistant professor of civil engineering. Nevertheless, if the Purdue improvement plan is successful, it could impact the lives of nearly 1 million people in the Nandi region.

Origami shapes may lead to safer structures and products

Purdue University civil engineering undergraduates are researching energy-absorbing materials using simple origami shapes and designs. Their work could bring profound changes to products such as impact-resistant cars, earthquake-resistant buildings and safer football helmets.

3-D imagery helps detect danger zones

Narrow lanes in work zones make for nervous and less attentive drivers, Purdue researchers say — and the data they're collecting is backing them up. It's a common feeling drivers get on the road when the lanes shrink due to construction: nervousness, anxiety — perhaps even a bit of panic. Even if drivers feel only a little nervous, researcher Ayman Habib says these effects can cause significant shifts in a driver's attentiveness. Habib is a professor of civil
engineering in the Lyles School.

Purdue civil engineer soars in the role of aviation exec

Dan Vicari, Lyles School of Civil Engineering alumnus and Crown Point native, says he never expected his career path would lead to the skies above. Vicari (BSCE ’99, MSCE ’01) serves as the executive director for the Gary/Chicago International Airport. He oversees the public-private partnership between the City of Gary, the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority and AvPORTS, the private aviation facilities company that manages the airport.
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