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NEES Community Update - December 2014
Research News
In The Network
Outreach News

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

Dec. 12
NEES/EERI Research-to-Practice Webinar: Seismic Performance of Architectural Precast Facades, Part B

See Event Details and Register

Jan. 24
EERI Data Collection Training Workshop, UCLA 

See Event Details

March 31 - April 3
2015 EERI Annual Meeting, Boston

See Event Details

May 17 - 20
12th North American Masonry Conference, Denver

See Event Details


Director's Letter

Best wishes for 2015!

With testing at the NEES sites under the cooperative agreement complete, operations are now focused on closing award business and maintaining the NEEShub. The IT team is in the process of conducting extensive curation of experimental data from NEESR and shared-use projects. This activity, authorized by NSF’s extension to the NEES Ops award, enables NEEScomm to maintain cyberinfrastructure operations and transition it to the next NSF-appointed cyberinfrastructure awardee. This transition will take place by May 31, 2015, as part of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI), announced in the solicitation NSF 14-605:

Our December newsletter features three highlights of the NEES Education, Training and Outreach (EOT) efforts. While it is clear that the long-term impact of this important NEES activity is yet to be seen, it is compelling to know that since 2010, more than 2,000 EOT events and programs have engaged more than 128,000 people: grade-schoolers, high-schoolers, their parents, university undergraduates and grad students -- as well as practicing engineers and researchers.

Best regards!

Julio Ramirez
NEES Chief Officer and NEEScomm Center Director

NEES/EERI Research-to-Practice Webinars

The popular EERI and NEES collaboration, the Research-to-Practice Webinar Series, accelerates the pace of transfer from research to practice by bringing key experimental outcomes in the form of data, guidelines and new construction techniques to practicing engineers and other researchers. To date, NEES researchers and their industry partners have presented 19 online sessions demonstrating how engineering research is designed and executed – and how the results can be put to use.  Over 3,500 participants have attended the webinars. Furthermore, these webinars are archived on the NEEShub for self-paced viewing. In this mode webinars have been accessed 43,000 times on the NEEShub. Finally, in a service provided by EERI, the viewers can use these webinars to obtain PDH credits.

Recent and Upcoming webinars. In December, the final two Research-to-Practice webinars will feature NEES projects studying architectural precast façade systems. The December 5 session focused on Research and Testing Programs; the December 12 session focuses on Design Implications and Lessons Learned

The moderator for the webinars is Professor Kurt McMullin of San José State University. Speakers include Professor Tara Hutchinson of UC San Diego, Mark Hildebrand, President of Willis Precast Co. Inc., Glen Underwood, Chief Structural Engineer of Clark-Pacific Precast, and Elide Pantoli, PhD candidate from UC San Diego.

The webinars are free. EERI offers PDHs after the sessions for $30. Find details and registration forms on the NEEShub.

NEES Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Since 2006, NEES has provided undergraduate research experiences for 239 college students. The prestigious program gives students 10 weeks at an earthquake engineering research facility where they take active part in a NEESR project. To cap-off the work, students wrote research papers and presented posters at a professional conference.

Where are they now? To shine a light on this wildly successful NEES program, NEEScomm located a group of former REUs to learn what they’re up to. The results are amazing. Visit the following link and learn about their accomplishments: NEES REU Students, Where Are They Now?

REU student makes the news

NEES at Lehigh REU student Marissa Wildeck (far right, in purple) was featured in Wisconsin's Wausau Daily Herald (WDH). Last summer at Lehigh University, the University of Wisconsin graduate worked on a bridge-monitoring project in which she created an instrumented mobile robot for recording bridge frequencies. Read details of Ms. Wildeck’s REU experience on the WDH website.

NEES low-cost instructional shake table goes national

A classic example of NEES EOT collaborative efforts is the design, construction, and deployment of a low-cost instructional shake table. At Purdue University, Sean Brophy and the NEEScomm EOT team partnered with Purdue’s Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program to design and build an instructional shake table for under $1,000.  The goal of this effort was to make it financially feasible for K-12 teachers to engage students in the practice of earthquake engineering. The results of the project:

  • A servo-controlled shake table, built for less than $1,000, that is capable of demonstrating scientific concepts of force and motion.
  • 12 instructional shake tables were shipped to 11 NEES facilities for use in outreach programs.

Leveraging and expanding on this project, Lelli Van Den Einde and the EOT team at UC San Diego developed an extensive K-12 curriculum based on the NEES instructional shake table. In collaboration with local high schools, NEES at San Diego piloted this shake table curriculum in two Project Lead The Way (PLTW) courses, “Principals of Engineering” and “Civil Engineering and Architecture.” PLTW is a national, non-profit organization that provides Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curricular programs for elementary, middle, and high schools across the U.S.

PLTW teachers at three San Diego high schools implemented the NEES at San Diego shake table curriculum and provided feedback on the available documentation and assessment tools. The curriculum was then integrated into two PLTW 2014 summer training sessions and presented at a recent regional PLTW conference for broader dissemination. 

More than 4,700 schools across the country have adopted the PLTW curriculum. Having the NEES shake table curriculum adopted by PLTW will enable NEES at San Diego to reach thousands of high school students throughout the United States.

More about NEES EOT projects and curricula. The NEES EOT team has recently revamped the NEEShub’s Learning and Outreach section to provide easier access to EOT resources for educators and practitioners. 

Newsletter submissions. To share news items with the NEES community, send them to Marti LaChance: lachance at


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  The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded organization of which the goals are part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program's (NEHRP) coordinated effort to address earthquake risk in the United States. The NEES mission to accelerate improvements in seismic design and performance by serving as an indispensable collaboratory for discovery and innovation. Cooperative Agreement CMMI-0927178


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