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News & events

Chair's message

December 13, 2021

Laura Lowes

Laura Lowes, Chair & Professor

We are thrilled to be back on campus, albeit masked, for autumn quarter. After one and a half years of remote learning, faculty and students appreciate in-person classroom discussions, office hours and research meetings. Students are also enjoying hands-on learning, including mixing and testing concrete in the Construction Materials Lab and fluid mechanics labs in the newly remodeled Harris Hydraulics space (featured in this edition of The Bridge). Our undergraduate student clubs are already busy planning for the construction of a concrete canoe and steel bridge, following online competitions last year. A personal highlight at the start of the academic quarter was meeting incoming graduate students in-person at the department’s outdoor “welcome” event. With vaccinations required for all members of the UW community, I look forward to the day when we can put our masks away.

This issue of The Bridge highlights a few of the many research projects that made significant progress during remote operations. Associate Professor Mike Motley and a team of researchers are working to make sense of the chaotic nature of tsunami debris and Professor Anne Goodchild and her team developed an app that provides real-time curb parking availability in the Belltown neighborhood. This edition of the newsletter also recognizes the success of Professor Faisal Hossain’s satellite-based irrigation advisory system, which celebrated five years of implementation and now benefits more than 100,000 farmers in three countries.

I am continually impressed with the accomplishments of our CEE alumni, and this issue of The Bridge introduces alumnus Maynard Okereke (BSCE ’06) who is expanding diversity in STEM fields through a platform called Hip Hop Science, which enables him to conduct outreach to schools and other organizations. This fall, we also celebrate the promotion of three faculty from assistant to associate professors with tenure. And, we fondly remember the accomplishments and contributions of Professor Emeritus Demetrios Spyridakis, who passed away in October 2021.

Laura Lowes
Chair & Professor