Latest News

February 2023 Graduate Student Spotlight: Patrick Cunningham

Patrick Cunningham (he/him) has been studying at UC Davis for 5 years, first completing his MS degree and now completing his Ph.D. 

In this month's Graduate Student Spotlight, we'll learn more about Patrick and his research at UC Davis.

Tell us about yourself in a few words.

Currently, I'm doing research in Berlin, DE. I love cooking and I am fascinated by the towering role of concrete in our global society.

Prof. Alissa Kendall co-authors landmark study showing how to shrink the lithium footprint of electrifying the transportation sector

CEE Professor Alissa Kendall, along with graduate students Kristi Dayemo and Margaret Slattery of the Energy Graduate Group, and colleagues at Providence College and the Climate + Community Project have released a groundbreaking new report showing the lithium footprint of transport decarbonization. Decarbonization strategies rely on battery electric vehicles (EVs). This will create an unprecedented demand for critical metals such as lithium used in their batteries. Large-scale mining for metals creates numerous environmental harms and has major impacts on surrounding communities. Prof.

UC Davis Researchers Explore Environmental Benefits of Soil-Stabilizing Microbes

Naturally occurring microbes could help stabilize the ground under buildings during earthquakes due to the way they reduce the water content in soils, according to new research. One existing approach to stabilizing liquefaction-prone soils known as grouting is to inject concrete into the soil under vulnerable structures to cement the ground together.

January 2023 Graduate Student Spotlight: Samantha Sharp

Samantha Sharp (she/her) is a fifth-year Ph.D. Student in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Water Resource Engineering. 

In this Graduate Student Spotlight, we'll learn more about Samantha's journey and her research at UC Davis. 

Still recovering from COVID-19, US public transit tries to get back on track

U.S. commuters take approximately ten billion trips on public transit each year, but the industry is still recovering from the hits it took during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kari Watkins, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis, was interviewed by The Conversation to discuss what cities can do to increase public transportation ridership and how people can make better use of this environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

December 2022 Graduate Student Spotlight: Sampat Kedarisetty

Sampat Kedarisetty (he/him) is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Pavement Management.

In this Graduate Student Spotlight, we'll learn more about Sampat's journey and his research at UC Davis. 

Tell us about yourself.

I'm originally from India and came to UC Davis for my Ph.D. I'm also newly married to the love of my life who I met here and am a cat-dad.

Professor Jay Lund elected a 2022 American Geophysical Union Fellow

Dr. Jay Lund was elected as a 2022 American Geophysical Union Fellow for his continued contributions and achievements in the Earth sciences. This prestigious recognition is awarded to top innovators in the field, and Fellows are selected because they embody the AGU values of equity, diversity, and integrity in the sciences. We are incredibly proud of Dr. Lund and the impact that he has in our own community and beyond. Congratulations Dr. Lund!

Job Announcement: Project Scientist

The Project Scientist makes significant and creative contributions to a research or creative project in his/her academic discipline. The appointee possesses the subject matter expertise and the creative energy necessary to function at a high level of competence. The appointee will participate in activities to increase, improve, or upgrade competency. Appointees with Project (e.g., Scientist) titles may engage in University and public service. They do not have teaching responsibilities.

Professor Barbato received the 2022 Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award from Graduate Studies

Dr. Michele Barbato was selected by UC Davis Graduate Studies to receive a 2022 Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award for outstanding service in advising and mentoring graduate students at the program level. Congratulations Dr. Barbato for your vital role in mentoring the academic and professional development of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars at the University of California, Davis!

Investigating Bridges Under Pressure

Scientists at the UC Davis Center for Geotechnical Modeling have compiled the most detailed experimental data yet seen on how liquefaction-induced downdrag can add to the structural load applied to a pile foundation during earthquake shaking.

Professor Heather Bischel received the NSF Early Career Award

Congratulation to Professor Heather Bischel for her NSF CAREER award, which was just announced yesterday! The award is titled "PFAS-BioAction: Innovative treatment of municipal solid waste organics through insect-mediated bioprocessing and sequestration of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances." 

Professor Barbato Recipient of the 2021 ASCE Outstanding Reviewer Award

Dr. Michele Barbato was awarded the 2021 ASCE Outstanding Reviewer Award for the Journal of Composites for Construction. This award is given annually to reviewers selected by the ASCE journals’ editors for their exemplary contributions to voluntary peer review. The Outstanding Reviewer Award was established in 2009 by the Journals Division of ASCE to recognize the altruistic contributions of dedicated reviewers. 

Prof. Michele Barbato and PhD Student Diogo Zignago selected for Editor's Choice for the ASCE Journal of Composites for Construction

Professor Barbarto along with CEE Ph.D. Student Diogo Zignago, who co-authored the paper “Reliability-Based Calibration of New Design Procedure for Reinforced Concrete Columns under Simultaneous Confinement by Fiber-Reinforced Polymers and Steel” ( has been selected as Editor’s Choice for 2022’s 3rd issue of the ASCE Journal of Composites for Construction. 

Welcome Professor Watkins!

The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Davis is excited to have Prof. Kari E. Watkins join our department as an Associate Professor. Prof. Watkins is a leading expert in transit, whose research contributes to the goal of expanding mobility options by improving transit, walking, bicycling, and other alternatives to driving. Her work supports societal efforts to reduce the climate impacts of transportation and improve transportation equity.