Be Boundless

Earthquake research graduate fellowships


August 29, 2019

It’s a fellowship sweep. Out of two graduate fellowships awarded by the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), both recipients are from UW CEE: Andrew Makdisi and Sarah Wichman.

EERI/FEMA NEHRP graduate fellowships support students who are working on research that aims to reduce fatalities, injuries and economic loss related to earthquakes. The students will officially be presented with their awards during a ceremony at the EERI Annual Meeting/National Earthquake Conference in San Diego, Calif., in March 2020.

Andrew Makdisi 

Ph.D. student Andrew Makdisi’s research is focused on soil liquefaction during earthquakes and the ensuing ground failure that often results. When moderate- to large-magnitude earthquakes occur, ground shaking can cause soils to lose their strength and stiffness in a process known as liquefaction. A notoriously difficult problem to tackle, liquefaction can cause tremendous damage to underground pipelines, bridges and building foundations when it occurs in sloping ground. Makdisi’s work is aimed at generating a large dataset of numerical simulations of ground deformation, which will be used to develop models that improve the ability to asses the hazards posed by these types of ground failures. He has about 1.5-2 years left of his graduate studies.

Sarah Wichman 

Ph.D. student Sarah Wichman is currently working to develop a resilient-based seismic design methodology for tall timber buildings in collaboration with the NHERI TallWood Project team. Her research focuses on the performance of pairing a new, sustainable timber product, called cross-laminated timber, with rocking wall systems to create a reliable, cost-effective, and rapidly constructible seismic load resisting system. Read more about her research. With about 2.5 years left of her graduate studies, Wichman also serves as president of the EERI UW student chapter and recently participated in the Learning from Earthquakes Travel Study Program in New Zealand earlier this year.