International Women’s Day Spotlight on UC Davis Women in Civil and Environmental Engineering

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, the University of California, Davis, College of Engineering recognizes women in engineering, their journey to and in the field, and how they promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive world.

Meet some remarkable women in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and learn how they inspire inclusion in engineering.

Professor Fabian Bombardelli Receives Honorary Degree: Doctor Honoris Causa

Professor Fabian Bombardelli has received an honorific degree as Doctor Honoris Causa from the National University of La Plata (UNLP), Argentina. This is the highest academic accolade from UNLP. Prof. Bombardelli is a world-leader in hydraulic modeling and environmental fluid mechanics, and he received this honorific during a ceremony at which he presented a lecture titled "Numerical Simulation of Air Entrainment in Stepped Spillways: From Engineering to Research." You can read more about his accomplishments and the impact of his work here (in Spanish). 

Prof. Emeritus Pat Mokhtarian elected to National Academy of Engineering

Prof. Emeritus Patricia (Pat) Mokhtarian was elected to the 2024 class of the National Academy of Engineering for her contributions to "improved transportation systems planning and practice through quantifying human behavior." Prof. Mokhtarian is a world-leading researcher on travel behavior. Her work on the impact of telecommunications technology on travel behavior long predates the huge shift that has taken place over the last few years.

Prof. Amit Kanvinde and his PhD student Aditya Jhunjhunwala received 2024 Raymond C. Reese Research Prize

The American Society of Civil Engineers has awarded the 2024 Raymond C. Reese Research Prize to Amit Kanvinde, Professor at UC Davis’s Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and Aditya Jhunjhunwala, his PhD student. The Raymond C. Reese Research Prize, created in 1970, is given to authors of an article that “describes a notable achievement in research related to structural engineering and which indicates how the research can be used,” according to the ASCE website.

UC Leadership Visits the Center for Geotechnical Modeling

UC Vice President for Research & Innovation Theresa Maldonado and UC Davis Vice Chancellor for Research visited the CEE Center for Geotechnical Modeling on January 23rd, where they learned about the 45 year history of the facility and plans to maintain the CGM as the premiere facility in the US for centrifuge-based research. The CGM hosts two centrifuges, one with a smaller 1-m radius and a massive 9-m radius. The high-gravity environment created when the centrifuges spin allows for investigation of a host of important problems in geotechnical engineering using scaled models.

Engineering Professor Wins Women & Philanthropy Impact Award

At commencement, she congratulates every student by name — then they ask for a hug.

She spearheaded the drive to establish an undergraduate environmental engineering major at UC Davis, knowing women are drawn to the field.

And in the words of her department chair: “She cares passionately about creating opportunities for others and institutionalizing the change needed to allow women and other underrepresented persons to thrive in engineering.”

CEE Professor Michele Barbato receives the Jonathon Burdette Brown Education

This year Professor Michele Barbato is being awarded with the "Jonathon Burdette Brown Education" Award from the ASCE Sacramento Chapter. The Sacramento Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers announce the outstanding individuals and remarkable projects that have earned recognition in this year's Sacramento Section ASCE Awards. These awards celebrate the dedication and hard work of those who are driving positive change in our city through civil engineering. Congratulations Michele!

Professor Ross Boulanger Named Ishihara Lecturer by ISSMGE TC203

Professor Ross Boulanger was named the 9th Ishihara Lecturer by the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering's (ISSMGE) Technical Committee on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering (TC203). This is a distinguished group of lecturers who have been instrumental in the geotechnical earthquake engineering field. Professor Boulanger will receive the award and give an award lecture at the 8th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering in Osaka, Japan in March 2024.

Professor Michele Barbato Selected as 2023 UC Davis Innovator of the Year

Professor Michele Barbato was selected as the UC Davis Innovator of the Year Award for his continued work with adobe as a nature-based solution for sustainable, climate-resilient earthen construction. For more information about Professor Barbato's award, read this article: Engineering Faculty Receive UC Davis Innovation Awards at 2023 Ceremony | College of Engineering. Congratulations Michele!

Sashi Kunnath recognized as an ASCE Distinguished Member

Professor Sashi Kunnath was recently honored as a distinguished member of ASCE for his contributions to civil engineering, ASCE, and mentorship. Professor Kunnath's outstanding dedication to earthquake engineering and collapse analysis has been instrumental to the advancement of the field. More information about his work and recognition by ASCE can be found on the ASCE website. Congratulations Dr. Kunnath!

Professor Geoff Schladow Appears in NPR Weekend Edition

Professor Geoff Schladow, Director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, appeared in the recent NPR Weekend Edition Sunday to discuss the presence of zooplankton in Lake Tahoe. He was interviewed by Ayesha Rascoe about the role of the microorganisms in the lake and their importance to the ecosystem. The interview and transcript can be found on the NPR website

CEE Professor Katerina Ziotopoulou awarded the ISSMGE TC293 Young Researcher Award

Congratulations to CEE Professor Katerina Ziotopoulou on receiving the 2023 Young Researcher Award (under age 40) from the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering's (ISSMGE) Technical Committee on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering. The award was just announced, with Katerina scheduled to receive the award and give an award lecture at the 8th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering in Osaka, Japan, in March 2024.

Past award recipients and award details are at:

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.

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.

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!

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” (https://ascelibrary.org/doi/10.1061/%28ASCE%29CC.1943-5614.0001199) 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.

Professor Jay Lund Featured in The New Yorker

Reporter David Owen interviewed CEE Professor Jay Lund and WFCB Professor Emeritus Peter Moyle for a feature about the Sacramento River Delta and how best to protect the freshwater that millions of people depend on for drinking and agriculture. The piece covers the industrialization of the Delta, conservation issues like the Delta smelt, land subsidence, levee failures, and more. You can read the full article here.

Professor Boris Jeremic Publishes Book Through the UN-IAEA

Professor Boris Jeremic and his colleagues Alain Pecker and James J. Johnson have published a book on seismic soil-structure interaction analysis in the design and assessment of nuclear interactions. His work is printed through the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency and is summarized as follows:

Professor Dan Sperling Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced in a press release on Feb. 9 that Professor Dan Sperling has been elected as a member of the 2022 class of the NAE for leadership and outstanding entrepreneurial contributions in transportation energy, advancing alternative energy policies and promoting government-industry-university collaborations.

CEE Faculty and Students Publish Op-Ed on COVID Wastewater Analysis

In a continuation of the Bischel team's work on wastewater analysis with Healthy Davis Together, Hannah Safford, Karen Shapiro, and Professor Bischel published an op-ed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The article, titled Opinion: Wastewater analysis can be a powerful public health tool—if it’s done sensibly, can be found here. Congratulations, Hannah and Professor Bischel!

Professor Michele Barbato's Paper Selected As ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering Editor's Choice

The paper “Experimental investigation of postearthquake vertical load-carrying capacity of scoured reinforced concrete pile group bridge foundations” has been selected as Editor’s Choice for 2021’s 12th issue of the ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering. This paper was co-authored by CEE Professor Michele Barbato and is the result of an ongoing research collaboration with Tongji University. Congratulations, Professor Barbato!

UC Davis Live Podcast this Thursday, 9/30, at 11am: Mitigating Wildfire Hazards for Homes and Communities

 Fire has always been part of the Western landscape, but the fire season gets longer and more severe every year. So far this year, California has seen four of the largest wildfires in its history, and the Dixie Fire, the second-largest in state history, is still burning after two months. 

Fire is part of our future. What can we do to protect homes, neighborhoods and communities and make them more resilient to fire hazards? Hear from two UC Davis experts on these and related questions Sept. 30. 

Professor Amit Kanvinde Received 2022 AISC Award

Congratulations Professor Amit Kanvinde for receiving the 2022 American Institute of Steel Construction T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award. This award recognizes outstanding researchers whose technical papers made outstanding contribution to the literature on fabricated structural steel. 

Each year, AISC's T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award recognizes an outstanding lecturer and author whose technical paper or papers, published during the eligibility period, are considered an outstanding contribution to the engineering literature on fabricated structural steel.

Emeritus professor, Deb Niemeier, elected to the American Philosophical Society

The American Philosophical Society Welcomes New Members for 2021. Election to the American Philosophical Society honors extraordinary accomplishments in all fields. The APS is unusual among learned societies because its Membership is composed of top scholars from a wide variety of academic disciplines.

Professor Emeritus Deb Niemeier was selected as a member of Class 1 Mathematical and Physical Sciences. 

Professor Katerina Ziotopoulou Awarded NSF CAREER Award

Katerina Ziotopoulou, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering recipient of National Science Foundation Early Career Award. She was granted a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award of more than $500,000 for her research in soil liquefaction.

Geotechnical Engineering Trailblazer: Professor Emeritus Izzat (Ed) Idriss

An internationally-recognized leader in the field of soil mechanics and foundation engineering, civil engineer Izzat (Ed) Idriss, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering, has influenced the construction of dams, nuclear power plants, office buildings, hospitals, and bridges around the world.

Holly Oldroyd selected for the NAE's 2020 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

Washington, DC, June 23, 2020 —

Eighty-five of the nation’s brightest early-career engineers have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 26th annual US Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium. Engineers who are performing exceptional research and technical work in a variety of disciplines will come together for the two-and-a-half day event. The participants -- from industry, academia, and government -- were nominated by fellow engineers or organizations.

Barbato awarded the 2020 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize

Professor Michele Barbato has been awarded the 2020 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize for “his outstanding research in structural engineering and engineering mechanics, with emphasis on finite element response sensitivity analysis, seismic response steel-concrete composite systems, seismic pounding mitigation, performance-based hurricane engineering and hurricane hazard mitigation, nonstationary stochastic dynamics, multi-hazard performance-based engineering, and sustainable construction materials.”

NSF CAREER Award: Martinez

Alejandro Martinez, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program, for his proposal, “Soil Penetration Through Bioinspired Stress State Manipulation.”

The grant is worth up to $500,000 over five years. Martinez studies bioinspired geotechnics, a field that looks to biological organisms for inspiration to solve problems in geotechnical engineering.

James Cheney Obituary

Professor James Cheney passed away on Nov. 22, 2019, just before Thanksgiving.  He was one of the first faculty hired in the Civil Engineering in 1962 and remained with the faculty until his retirement.  Please follow the link here to read more about his life, both personal and professional. 

Two CEE Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professors Holly Oldroyd and Verónica Morales each received the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award for their research in environmental engineering.

Supporting the Next Wave of Water Leaders

UC Davis professor and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences Jay Lund explains the important role UC Davis engineers will play in solving water problems that plague societies across the globe.

Maureen Kinyua: Waste Not

As an undergraduate physics major, Maureen Kinyua discovered her passion for science—combined with a sincere interest in helping others—could lead to a fruitful career in engineering.

Professor John Harvey Presents Rasmus S. Nordal Keynote Address

John Harvey, professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the UC Pavement Research Center (UCPRC), presented the Rasmus S. Nordal keynote address to more than 400 delegates at the 10th Conference on the Bearing Capacity of Roads, Railways and Airfields in Athens, Greece, on June 28, 2017.