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Awards and accolades


June 15, 2021

Pedro Arduino

Associate Dean for Infrastructure, professor Pedro Arduino has a reputation as an excellent and popular instructor in his department, bringing enthusiasm to his role teaching students geotechnical and structural engineering. He has developed many innovative teaching aids which have been used by other instructors around the country, including a program that enables students to visualize how soil variables affect earthquake ground motions in real time. Arduino has also contributed to innovations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels through curriculum enhancements and updating labs by actively seeking funding for new equipment.

Andrew Bennett

Andrew Bennett, Ph.D student, is the recipient of an Outstanding Student Presentation Award from the American Geophysical Union, which highlights his research on integrating machine learning into hydrologic models.

Jori Carter

Jori Carter, an undergraduate student, is the recipient of the Finlandia Foundation National Scholarship, which supports his studies in civil engineering and Scandinavian studies. He hopes to apply this scholarship toward research in the hydrology field.

Michelle Chang

Michelle Chang, master’s student, is the recipient of the 2021 SOM Foundation Structural Engineering Fellowship. As part of the fellowship, Michelle will travel to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and around the United States to conduct research on exemplary structural engineering projects that address race relations in both process and form.

Zhiyong Cui

Zhiyong Cui, Postdoctoral Associate, is the recipient of the UW Data Science Postdoctoral Fellow, which supports his research to develop data-driven models and advanced artificial intelligence methods to address transportation control and management issues, particularly under the connected vehicles and infrastructure scenarios.

Eric Gagliano

Eric Gagliano, Ph.D. student, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which supports his research to use radar remote sensing to measure changes in snow and glacier properties.

Michael Gomez

Assistant professor Michael Gomez is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program Award, which supports early career faculty who have the potential to lead notable advances in research and education. The award supports Gomez’s research to improve the resilience of civil infrastructure during earthquakes and other natural hazard events by developing stronger soils inspired by nature.

Seyma Gunes

Seyma Gunes, master’s student in transportation engineering, is the recipient of the Helene M. Overly Memorial Graduate Scholarship, which supports her research to address challenges and evaluate strategies to improve efficiencies and reduce emissions in urban freight systems.

Iman Haji

Iman Haji, an undergraduate student who is focusing on transportation engineering, is the recipient of the Sharon D. Banks Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship, ITE Washington Undergraduate Scholarship, Coral Sales Highway and Transportation Scholarship, and Washington Asphalt and Pavement Association Scholarship. As an incoming PacTrans fellow, she will be pursuing a Master's in Transportation Engineering in the fall and plans to pursue a transportation career in the public sector where she can contribute to large-scale infrastructure projects through the intersections of transportation engineering, data analysis, sustainability and equity.

Jessica Kaminsky

Associate professor Jessica Kaminsky has been awarded the 2021 Daniel W. Halpin Award for Scholarship in Construction, bestowed by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The award recognizes Kaminsky’s research on infrastructure in developing communities, which focuses on creating sustainable living environments and exploring contexts that lead to changes in basic infrastructure. Her goal is to make basic civil infrastructure better serve all the world’s people.

Cole Kopca

Cole Kopca, Ph.D. student, received an Institute of Transportation Engineers Washington Chapter Graduate Student Scholarship. The Washington State Section of ITE offers scholarships to students planning on pursuing a career in transportation engineering or planning.

Brett Maurer

Assistant professor Brett Maurer is the recipient of a 2021 United States Universities Council on Geotechnical Education and Research Early Career Researcher Award, which recognizes significant and innovative contributions to the field of geotechnical engineering. The overarching theme of Maurer’s research is developing models and software to study soil liquefaction, which can cause major damage during earthquakes when soil beneath buildings loses strength.

Calista Moore

Calista Moore, an undergraduate student, received a Mary Gates Research Scholarship for her project evaluating satellite thermal infrared imagery to estimate snowmelt for water resources management.

Sai S. Nudurupati

Sai S. Nudurupati, a graduate student, won the runner-up award in the 2021 Syvitski Student Modeler Competition hosted by CSDMS, Boulder, for his submission entitled “On Transient Semi-arid Ecosystem Dynamics using Landlab.”

Steven Pestana

Steven Pestana, a graduate student, began teaching his first class at the same time that the UW campus pivoted to remote learning. He not only rose to the challenge, he elevated the curriculum by incorporating the latest data science, programming and cloud computing techniques. He restructured the class, helping students to build an online community that accommodated research interests and utilized student feedback. Noticing how his students were affected by the stress of the pandemic, he offered additional hours for asynchronous students, reduced the workload and offered flexible deadlines. According to one student, “Steven is exceptionally responsive to individual student concerns and encourages everyone to use the skills we are learning in the class on problems that get us fired up.”

Justin Pflug

Justin Pflug, a graduate student, is the recipient of a student paper presentation award at the 101st American Meteorological Society meeting in Phoenix. His presentation focused on downscaling fine-resolution model representations of snow deposition using historical snow patterns in mountainous terrain.

Jessica Ray

Assistant professor Jessica Ray was named to a list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists published by Cell Mentor in December 2020. The list was compiled to honor Black scientists for their efforts in research and teaching, mentorship, advocacy and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Ray’s research is focused on designing low-cost composite materials to selectively remove contaminants in stormwater and wastewater.

Haoua Sereme

Haoua Sereme, a master’s student in the Supply Chain Transportation and Logistic (SCTL) program, is currently a lead designer at the Washington State Department of Transportation and is the recipient of the 2021 WTS Puget Sound Chapter Shawna Mulhall Memorial Scholarship, which supports the development of women in the transportation field by encouraging them to pursue their education or career.

Yinhai Wang

Professor Yinhai Wang, founding director of the STAR Lab, has developed new methods and tools to address mobility challenges, including assessment of COVID-19 impacts on transportation. Partnering with diverse public agencies and private industry, the STAR Lab has been internationally recognized as a leader in creating innovative solutions to enhance roadway safety, efficiency, reliability and safety. Wang has also been working with local tribes, such as Yakama Nation, to improve safety equity in transportation. In 2020 alone, under Wang’s direction, the lab produced more than 30 peer-reviewed journal publications, received more than $1.2 million in new research funds, and won numerous student awards. Wang is also director of the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans).

Peter Yu

Peter Yu, an undergraduate student who is a member of the UW STAR Lab, is a recipient of the 2021 ITE Washington Undergraduate Scholarship, which supports his work in the areas of highway design, alternative intersections and interchanges, traffic operations and simulation, and traffic signal control. Peter earned first place nationally in the 2016 ASCE West Point Bridge Design Contest and has also given multiple conference presentations at international ITE, TRB and ASCE meetings.

Purple and gold ballons

Twenty-two undergraduate students received scholarships of $1,400 each from the Washington Asphalt Pavement Association. A special graduate-level WAPA scholarship was also awarded to Ph.D. student Elyse Lewis.

Undergraduate awardees:

  • Mohammed Asakreh
  • Lilly Burnett
  • Josh Ren
  • Ahmad Nasry
  • Robert Hitch
  • Gabrielle Hager
  • Alex Escobar Mareno
  • Monica Gomez
  • Andro Aserios
  • Eduardo Hernandez
  • Huy Duong
  • Xinyi Qian
  • Jannah Bongato
  • Trent Wydrowski
  • Andrew Kuropyatnik
  • Sara Mahoney
  • Bailey Griffin
  • Yusur Aldhahi
  • Matthew Lui
  • Brian Choi
  • Iman Haji
  • Dellen Behrend