January 2022

Message from the Head

Rao Govindaraju

It is a new year and new semester at Purdue University — and I find myself approaching both from a contemplative perspective.

Like 2020, I think it is safe to say 2021 was a trying year for many of us. Yet, oddly enough, — for me anyway — it also seemed to rush by in an instant. Throughout the year, my focus and attention were almost exclusively on ensuring we continue to do well by our students, staff, and faculty. Of course, this is something all school heads focus on, but — the next thing I knew — 2022 had already arrived.

In just these past 12 months, we have seen more than 200 students earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees. We also opened our Online Master’s Program — and in the short time it has been up and running, it already achieved national recognition as the back-to-back #2 online master’s program in the country. It now joins our Graduate and Undergraduate programs as repeat, nationally-recognized, top 10 programs in the United States.

We have also continued to improve and expand our physical facilities and educational opportunities for our students. All the while, our staff and faculty continue to be world-leaders in research that spans a very wide range of issues from resilience to natural disasters here on Earth to continued research on establishing sustainable habitats on distant planets.

Much of the same can be said of our alumni and friends, too. I have read numerous articles and heard from my colleagues about some of the incredible strides you have taken over the past year — and it fills me with pride to be associated with you. I know for a fact that our school would not be where it is, and could not have achieved so much without your continued support and the examples you set.

So, with the rest of 2022 ahead of us, let us all strive to make this a memorable and momentous year, together. And, if you find yourself on campus, please be sure to stop by Hampton Hall. I would love to catch up and learn about your plans for this year as well.

All the best,

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

Undergraduate Program Ranked No. 6 in the Nation

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering remains a top 10 civil engineering undergraduate program in the United States.

U.S. News & World Report has released its national rankings of undergraduate programs for 2022 with Purdue Civil Engineering ranked #6 in the nation. The rankings are computed from the responses to a survey sent to deans, heads, and selected senior faculty.

Purdue Civil Engineering has been consistently ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report for over a decade.

Overall, Purdue University's College of Engineering undergraduate program was ranked 10th in the nation.

Online Graduate Program Ranked No. 2 in the Nation

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering's Online Master's Program has been recognized as #2 in the nation for the second year in a row.

U.S. News & World Report has released its national rankings of Best Online Graduate Programs for 2022 with Purdue Civil Engineering ranked #2 overall. The rankings are based on engagement, faculty credentials and training, expert opinion, services and technologies, and student excellence.

Purdue Civil Engineering's Online Master's Program — along with the school's graduate and undergraduate programs — is a top 10 program in the nation, rated by USNWR rankings.

Purdue University's Online Master's in Engineering Program was ranked #3 in the nation by USNWR. For more information about Purdue’s 2022 rankings, visit:

Congratulations, Class of 2021!

Congratulations to the 80-plus graduate and undergraduate students who earned their civil engineering degrees in December! We wish you the very best and look forward to your return visits to campus.

Homecoming Return

It was so wonderful to see alumni and friends back on campus for Purdue Football’s homecoming game. Our traditional homecoming breakfast returned as well — and it was a treat to see so many come by and visit. We hope to see even more of you next fall. Boiler up!

Upcoming Events

  • February 17-18 – Distinguished Engineering Alumni Celebration
  • February 23 – Dennis and Leslie Drag Distinguished Lecture Series
  • March 10 – Dennis and Leslie Drag Distinguished Lecture Series
  • April 7 – Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Awards Celebrations (CEAAA)
  • May 13 – Undergraduate Student Commencement Ceremony
  • May 16 – Graduate Student Commencement Ceremony
  • July 10-15 – CE Summer Course: Developing Tomorrow’s Infrastructure: An Introduction to Civil Engineering

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!

NHERI Receives $5 Million in Funding from NSF

The Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) has been awarded $5 million in funding through 2025 by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

NHERI is a multi-hazards research community focused on mitigating the impact of earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis, storm surges and other water-related hazards on our nation's civil infrastructure and society. The Network Coordination Office (NCO), physically located at Purdue University, serves as the administrative headquarters for NHERI's nation-wide network of 11 research facilities. Julio Ramirez, Karl H. Kettelhut Professor in Civil Engineering, serves as NHERI-NCO Center Director.

The NCO’s Education and Community Outreach (ECO) team administers the network’s annual Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The ECO also holds an annual Summer Institute for early career faculty, graduate students, and K-12 educators to learn about NHERI resources and NSF support for natural hazards research.

The Network Independent Advisory Committee offers guidance to the NHERI Council, which is comprised of NHERI site principal investigators.

Along with network governance, the NCO provides many avenues for community participation and encourages researchers to join network-wide committees that make decisions about experimental scheduling, educational activities, user satisfaction, tech transfer, and Science Plan development.

Purdue Research Team Awarded Nearly $1 Million NSF Grant to Develop Cyber-Physical Systems Solution for Autonomous Buildings

A Purdue research team led by Panagiota Karava, Jack and Kay Hockema Professor in Civil Engineering, has received a grant of nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation to develop cyber-physical systems (CPS) aimed at reducing the energy consumption of buildings. The team also includes Jianghai Hu, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Ilias Bilionis, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Collectively, buildings account for 40% of the US primary energy usage and CO2 emissions and 70% of the electricity consumption. Furthermore, buildings put a tremendous strain on the power grid as they are largely responsible for the peaks in energy demand. Making buildings smarter through the deployment of sensors, actuators, and controllers, which collectively serve as the backbone of building CPS, can achieve more than 30% annual energy savings and can also significantly smooth peak demand. Thus, smart buildings are vital to a sustainable energy future. However, the road to large-scale realization of smart buildings is inhibited by their heterogeneity, which requires engineering customized, site-specific, and, thereby, costly solutions.

The goal of this project is to develop a CPS solution for autonomous buildings that will enable non-expert building managers to deploy asset-specific, smart control policies. The advantage of the proposed solution relies on the fact that the approach can be applied on a large-scale without any human intervention. The resulting software solution is the Artificial-Intelligence-Enabled Building Energy Expert (AI-BEE) and it will be demonstrated using simulations and experiments at the Center for High Performance Buildings at Purdue University. The proposed research will result in foundational contributions in core CPS areas, including machine learning and control, that will be translational to other application areas, such as large-scale energy systems (power grid), transportation, civil infrastructure, and unmanned vehicles.

More information on this project, including the full abstract, can be found on the NSF website.

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

  • Dr. Matthew W. Witczak (Ph.D. 1969), Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the University of Maryland, passed away at his home on Tuesday, January 18th.
  • CE alumnus Professor Hani Mahmassani (MSCE '78) has been awarded the Transportation Research Board’s 2021 Roy W. Crum Award for outstanding achievement in transportation research.
  • Tim Gunn (BSCE '91), Vice President of Construction for Alberici Constructors, Inc., along with the SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital campus renewal project team, has been recognized by Engineering News-Record with the Health Care Award of Merit for their innovative approach to modular design and off-site construction.
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology Civil Engineering Professor and Lyles School of Civil Engineering alumnus James Lambrechts (MSCE '76) was honored earlier this year by the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section (BSCES) of the American Society of Civil Engineers with two recognitions of distinction: the BSCES Honorary Member Award and the BSCES College Educator Award.
  • Dr. Seungjae Lee (Ph.D. '19) started as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto (ranked in the top 10 engineering schools worldwide) in July 2021. Seungjae completed his PhD in the Architectural Engineering emphasis area of Civil Engineering. He was advised by Prof. Thanos Tzempelikos and Prof. Panagiota Karava. In 2020-2021 he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • CE alumnus Chris Burke (BSCE '77, MSCE '79, PhD '83, HDR 2010) has received the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering from the University of Illinois Chicago for his contributions to the field of civil engineering.
  • Mariah Schroeder (BSCE '11, MSCE '15) has been recognized with the 2021 Rising Trendsetter Award from Central Exchange. This award is focused on a woman who has demonstrated significant achievement early in her career as an Influencer of women in STEMM.
  • Chih-Ping Lin (MSCE '95, PhD '99) has been named Dean of Engineering at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYTU) in Taiwan. Dr. Lin received the MS in Civil Engineering and the PhD degree at Purdue in Geotechnical Engineering. He completed the Ph.D. in three years and while doing so also obtained a MS degree in Electrical Engineering at Purdue.

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

  • CE student athletes Alec Fleming (cross country) and Alex Maxwell (football) were named Academic All-Big Ten for fall 2021.
  • Ph.D. Candidate Lisa Losada-Rojas was accepted to two prestigious faculty workshops: the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Rising Stars at MIT and Latinx Trailblazers in Engineering at Purdue.
  • PhD student Juliana Pereira received the Ada I. Pressman Memorial Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year from the Society of Women Engineers. The recipients of SWE scholarships are a group of extremely accomplished and driven students who excel both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • CE senior Camille Hamilton received the Bechtel Corporation Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year from the Society of Women Engineers. The recipients of SWE scholarships are a group of extremely accomplished and driven students who excel both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Ph.D. student Arkaprabha Bhattacharyya received the best presentation award from the 11th International Structural Engineering and Construction (ISEC) conference for presenting his paper titled, "Framework for Planning Capacities to Maximize the Feasible Resilience of Network Infrastructure System."
  • Grad student Maria Palmegiani was selected as second-place lightning round presenter in the American Water Works Association (AWWA) ACE21 All Virtual poster session - The New Frontier: Beyond the Meter Towards Plumbing Innovation and Water Quality.

  • Luna Lu, ACPA Professor of Civil Engineering, has been named director of the Office of Professional Practice (OPP).
  • Deborah Horton, Stacy Lane, and Jennifer Ricksy were recognized as finalists for the 2021 College of Engineering Staff Awards of Excellence. Stacy Lane and Jennifer Ricksy received the Team Award as members of the CE, ECE, and ME Online MS Staff Team, and Deborah Horton was a finalist for the Leah H. Jamieson Leadership Award.
  • Jinha Jung, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, is collaborating in a multistate, interdisciplinary research team working to advance new, environmentally friendly and commercially viable control strategies for citrus greening. The four-year project is part of an $11 million suite of grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
  • Satish Ukkusuri, Reilly Professor of Civil Engineering, was appointed the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Big Data Analytics in Transportation (BDAT), published by Springer Nature.
  • Dr. Washim Uddin Mondal, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, along with Satish Ukkusuri, Reilly Professor of Civil Engineering, received the best paper award in the Cooperative AI workshop at the 2021 Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) for their paper, "On the Approximation of Cooperative Heterogeneous Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL) using Mean Field Control (MFC)."
  • A paper co-authored by Yiheng Feng, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, received the INFORMS TSL ITS best paper award. The paper, titled "Intelligent driving intelligence test for autonomous vehicles with naturalistic and adversarial environment," was published in the journal Nature Communications in February 2021.
  • Venkatesh Merwade, Professor of Civil Engineering, is participating in a multi-university $15M NSF institute for geospatial data-driven scientific research.
  • The Shah Family Global Innovation Lab announced six winning teams to receive 2021 seed and design grant awards. Two of the six teams are led by CE faculty, including project proposals for sesame seed harvesting in Malakal, South Sudan (Joe Sinfield) and a water defluoridation system in the Dungarpur, Rajasthan district of India (Amisha Shah, Chad Jafvert, and George Zhou).
  • Etienne Atisso and Meredith Camp, both from the Indiana Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), were recognized by the College of Engineering with a 2021 Bravo Award. The Bravo was established by the University in 2014 to provide recognition and rewards for substantial accomplishments achieved by Purdue employees that extend well beyond regular work responsibilities.
  • Amit H. Varma, Karl H. Kettelhut Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Bowen Laboratory of Large-Scale CE Research at Purdue University's Lyles School of Civil Engineering, and his former student Zhichao Lai, Professor at Fuzhou University in China, received the 2021 Alfred Noble Prize awarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers for their paper, "High Strength Rectangular CFT Members: Database, Modeling, and Design of Short Columns."
  • Sogand Hasanzadeh, assistant professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the Division of Construction Engineering and Management, along with a team of researchers at Purdue University and George Mason University, received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to address fundamental questions regarding the risk-taking behavior and cognitive processes of workers with neurodiversity in the construction industry through interdependent human-AI partnerships.
  • Melba Crawford, Nancy Uridil and Francis Bossu Professor in Civil Engineering, received the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing David Landgrebe Award, presented biennially for outstanding contributions in the field of remote sensing image analysis.
  • Professor Kumares C. Sinha, Olson Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering at Purdue University, published an article titled “Reflections on the History of the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering” in the Journal of Transportation Engineering (JTE) that was recognized as the Editors' Choice.