June 2021

Message from the Head

Rao Govindaraju

As I look back and reflect upon the school year, I cannot help but feel a great sense of pride in what we managed to accomplish.

For roughly nine months, our students, faculty, and staff fully committed themselves to Protecting Purdue. We made adjustments, worked together, persevered, and — ultimately — we completed another successful year.

It was such an indescribably-warm feeling to see the university celebrate commencement on campus in May. Our students worked incredibly hard and they did so in far less than ideal circumstances. So, to see them being able to celebrate their achievements with family, friends, and faculty filled me with such pride. Not surprisingly, I am already eagerly waiting for the Fall Semester to be upon us.

That said, these past semesters have not been just about waiting and holding on for a brighter future. Despite the pandemic, the Lyles School of Civil Engineering continued to provide its students with the same world-renowned education that has come to be expected of us for more than a century. Our cutting-edge research continued and progressed to new heights. We greatly expanded upon our online education opportunities — and we intend to progress even further in all of these aspects in the semesters to come.

Civil engineers have shaped the world to how we know it today and they are the ones who will determine its future. No matter the state of the world, we are always looking ahead in search of new ways to improve the lives of our fellow humans and on how to preserve this planet we all share.

The world is moving forward and civil engineers must continue to look even further ahead as we strive to not only educate and improve the lives of others today, but prepare the engineers of tomorrow and create a future where they can take humanity to even greater heights.

All the best,

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

Graduate Program Ranked No. 6 in the Nation

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering’s Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Graduate Program in Civil Engineering has been recognized — once again — as a top 10 graduate program in the country.

U.S. News & World Report has released its national rankings of graduate programs for 2022 with Purdue Civil Engineering ranked No. 6 in the nation. The graduate rankings are computed from the responses to a survey sent to deans, heads and selected senior faculty.

The Burke Graduate Program has been consistently ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report for over a decade. Overall, Purdue’s College of Engineering graduate program was ranked fourth in the nation.

Congratulations, Class of 2021!

Congratulations to the 150 graduate and undergraduate students who earned their civil engineering degrees in May!

Due to COVID-19 restrictions in place, we held separate outdoor celebrations for our graduate and undergraduate students at Hampton Hall. However, the festive atmosphere remained as we welcomed our newest alumni.

Upcoming Events

  • September 30, 202: Civil Engineering Scholarship Event
  • Oct. 2, 2021: Homecoming

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!

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Purdue Day of Giving by supporting the Lyles School of Civil Engineering. Within 24 hours, we received 226 gifts, totaling $421,885. These gifts will be used to support our mission of delivering a high-impact education as well as transforming lives, both on campus and around the globe. Money raised will fund scholarships and aid the school’s greatest areas of need as well as support investments in Hampton Hall, and help to update existing laboratories for state-of-the-art civil engineering research and new flexible-use teaching environments.
We are truly grateful for faithful friends and alumni who continue to support our students and faculty so generously. Together, we are Purdue.

Purdue Civil Engineering to Roll Out TScan to Improve Vehicle Safety

Purdue University is poised to be the first to roll out TScan - an innovative, fully automated scanning system for acquiring highly-detailed traffic data at road intersections.

Sponsored by the Indiana Department of Transportation via the Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP), TScan combines modern sensing technology and a new safety evaluation theory. The safety theory and the concept for this system were developed by Lyles School of Civil Engineering Professor Andrew Tarko, who also serves as director of the Center for Road Safety at Purdue. Mario Romero, research scientist, and Vamsi Bandaru, graduate research assistant, were instrumental CE team members involved in the hardware and software development.

Learn more HERE.

Autonomous and Connected Systems PEI: CAV Course Builds on Purdue’s Data Science Initiative

A new graduate-level course that addresses the applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI) in connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) operations has taken shape in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering.

The course is led by Samuel Labi, professor, and Sikai Chen, postdoctoral research fellow, both in CE and researchers in the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation (CCAT).

CE597, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for Autonomous Vehicle Operations II, was first offered during the Fall 2020 semester. The use of ML/AI techniques in the course is motivated by the limitations of the traditional procedures in modeling and solving complex and intractable problems that involve big data, require more efficient use of computing resources, or need solutions that are more robust, efficient and effective. With the advancements in ML/AI, autonomous vehicle systems continue to develop rapidly and are expected to be deployed on public roads in the not-too-distant future.

It is expected that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be one of the disruptive technologies in the modern era. With a set of reliable enabling technologies including AI, AVs can significantly improve safety, mobility, energy efficiency, and socio-economic and environmental benefits associated with transportation systems of the future.

“The engineers of tomorrow must learn to adapt quickly to the vicissitudes of the times. Social, economic and technological changes constantly create new demands, not only on engineers but also on the educational systems that produce them,” Labi said. “Therefore, it is imperative that engineers cultivate the skills to develop sustainable and resilient solutions, based not only on reasoned analyses of the present situation but also on visions of a better tomorrow.”

Students who complete the course will be equipped with fundamental concepts of machine learning algorithms, general AI, and applications in AV operations. The course consists of instructor presentations, algorithm demonstrations, student presentations, group discussions, and guest speakers. In addition, the course discusses and demonstrates successful applications of algorithms in the context of AV operations.

The course aligns with Purdue’s Integrative Data Science Initiative, which is designed to build on and advance the University’s existing strengths to position it as a leader at the forefront of advancing data science-enabled research and education. The initiative does so by tightly coupling theory, discovery and applications while providing students with an integrated, data science-fluent campus ecosystem.

For more on the Purdue Engineering Initiative in Autonomous and Connected Systems:

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 faculty members have been sharing their research through Medium — an online publishing platform. Stories submitted by our professors include research into deep neural networks used to monitor nuclear reactors, autonomous and connected vehicles, and smart testing for resilient infrastructure. You can find their articles and more at

  • Brandon Hardin (BSCE '17, MSCE '19) has been named one of six Purdue College of Engineering alumni that have been selected for the inaugural Conexus Rising 30 cohort.
  • Gary Fisk, P.E. (BSCE '80), Vice President at DLZ, has been named the 2021 Outstanding Civil Engineer of the Year by the ASCE Indiana Chapter.
  • Kyle L. Zak, P.E. (BSCE '13, MSCE '18), Group Manager at Terracon Consultants, Inc., has been named the 2021 Outstanding Young Civil Engineer of the Year by the ASCE Indiana Chapter.
  • Congratulations to Benjamín Colucci-Ríos, PhD, PE, F.ASCE, F.ITE, for being selected by ASCE's Transportation and Development Institute to receive the 2021 Wilbur S. Smith Award. This award, which was instituted in 1984, recognizes Dr. Colucci-Ríos for his "unending leadership and dedication to action for the improvement of road safety in Puerto Rico and around the world."
  • Andrea Rinaldo (PhD 1983), Neil Armstrong Distinguished Visiting Fellow and Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources and Director of the Laboratory of Ecohydrology at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, has been named a recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award by the College of Engineering.

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

  • Students Sania Seilabi and Amir Davatgari, post-doctoral researcher Mohammad Miralinaghi, and Professor Samuel Labi received the 2021 Sussman Best Paper Prize from the Frontiers in the Built Environment journal, for their paper titled “Promoting Autonomous Vehicles Using Travel Demand and Lane Management Strategies.”
  • CE students Michelle EricksenJacan HabersetzerMackenzie Henson, and Lillian Schmidt were named 2021 student award winners by the Indiana section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • CE student athletes Alec Fleming (cross country) and Kyle Griffith (cross country) were named Academic All-Big Ten for the spring sports season in 2021.
  • PhD student Bortiorkor "Naa" Alabi has been named a recipient of the 2021-2022 Edward J. Cox Memorial Transportation Scholarship Award. The award is presented annually by the Indiana Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
  • Graduate student Jairaj Desai has been named a recipient of the 2021-2022 Edward J. Cox Memorial Transportation Scholarship Award. The award is presented annually by the Indiana Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
  • CE senior Steven Rogers has been named a recipient of the 2021-2022 Edward J. Cox Memorial Transportation Scholarship Award. The award is presented annually by the Indiana Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
  • Congratulations to Ethan Edwards, Amanda Lefebvre & Jenna Palka on being named the CE Outstanding Seniors for 2020-2021! They were selected for their outstanding service to Purdue University, the community, and their academic achievements.
  • Congratulations to CE graduate students Abdullah Nafakh and Isaiah Mwamba for receiving an honorable mention in the Purdue Climate Change Research Center (PCCRC) video competition. Their entry in the contest is titled, "Infrastructure and the Environment: A Love-Hate Relationship."
  • Graduate student Hritik Kothari has been named as one of ten ASCE New Faces of Civil Engineering–College class, representing the best and the brightest students from campuses around the world.
  • Six CE graduate students – Amy Getchell, Jibin Joseph, Carlos Moro Martinez, William Pollalis, Agustin Quinones, and Rih Teng Wu – were recognized by the College of Engineering as students who excel in teaching, service and research.
  • Anan Sheth, doctoral candidate in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and part of Purdue's Innovation Science Lab was awarded a doctoral dissertation research improvement grant by the Decision, Risk, and Management Sciences (DRMS) program of the National Science Foundation.

  • Julio A. Ramirez, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, the Karl H. Kettelhut professor in civil engineering at Purdue University, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2021 class of Distinguished Members for outstanding leadership in worldwide data collection, research, and education to enhance resilience of civil infrastructure and communities against natural hazards.
  • Mohammad Miralinaghi, a post-doctoral researcher in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and researcher at the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation (CCAT) has been recognized with the 2020 Matthew G. Karlaftis Best Paper Award.
  • Konstantina (Nadia) Gkritza, Professor of Civil Engineering and Agricultural and Biological Engineering, has been recognized as a Purdue University Faculty Scholar. The University Faculty Scholars Program recognizes outstanding mid-career faculty who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction.
  • The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (Apr. 9) ratified the appointment of Satish Ukkusuri as the Reilly Professor of Civil Engineering.
  • Congratulations to Inez Hua, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental & Ecological Engineering, and Mirian Velay-Lizancos, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, for being recognized as outstanding faculty mentors of graduate students.