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NEES Outstanding Contributor Awards, 2014


These annual OC awards recognize exceptional contributions to the earthquake engineering community. This year, the awards cover activities that occurred from 2009 through 2014, the period during which NEEScomm has managed the NEES Network.

NEES Outstanding Contributor Awards, 2014

NEES 2014 Outstanding Contributor Awards, Winners' Circle. (From left) Robert Fleischman, Sherif Elfass, Chen Song, Julio Ramirez, Keri Ryan, Tom O'Rourke, Kelly Doyle, Ken Stokoe, Alicia Lyman-Holt, Lelli Van Den Einde, Ian Robertson, Dan Kuchma (Click here for a larger version)

Outstanding Education, Outreach, & Training

This award is given to NEES community members who have made outstanding contributions to EOT, such educational materials, outreach programs, exhibits, webinar series, community interaction, journal special issues or other targeted publications or media.

Winner 1: Alicia Lyman-Holt, Oregon State University

Alicia Lyman-Holt’s has she been a driving force for the NEES REU program since its inception in 2009. She has developed and led many other highly successful programs such as the Tsunami Sand Bin and the Tsunami Shelter Challenge, which she transformed into a national outreach activity with Howard University NEES Ambassadors at the annual National Engineers Week Family Day in Washington, DC.

Winner 2: Lelli Van Den Einde, UC San Diego

Dr. Lelli Van Den Einde has developed many innovative ways to present engineering and STEM concepts. She produced educational videos from the NEES 5-story building project for undergraduate courses in engineering, she recruited and collaborated with Project Lead The Way to disseminate seismic educational modules using the NEES instructional shake table into K-12 classrooms, and she developed an interactive spatial visualization drawing application using touchscreen interface technology on the iPad.

Winner 3: Kelly Doyle, University of Nevada, Reno

For the past five years at UNR, Kelly Doyle has demonstrated her skill, creativity, and dedication to education and outreach. She developed a successful K-12 Seismic Design Competition, adapted the Make Your Own Earthquake outreach activity for use at UNR, and designed and implemented a permanent museum exhibit in Reno. In addition, she has been a regular participant in NEES’s nation-wide outreach activities such as the NEES Exhibit at the Annual Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC.

Outstanding Site Operations and Research Support

For NEES community members who have provided outstanding contributions in the area of site operations and research support.

Winner: Sherif Elfass, University of Nevada Reno

Dr. Sherif Elfass, site manager at NEES at the University of Nevada, provided outstanding support for the NEES Grand Challenge Nonstructural project and many others. He deftly managed four different contractors to set up the test bed and to install, demolish and reinstall the nonstructural components -- four separate times. Going beyond the call of duty, Elfass met individually with each contractor, continually verified the scope of work, and coordinated the resources between the contractor and the laboratory. His management skills were critical for the success of the project.

Outstanding Undergraduate or Graduate Student

For undergraduate or graduate students who have played a stellar role in support of NEES activities.

Winner 1: Taylor Valencia, Howard University

For four years, Howard University undergraduate Taylor Valencia was an energetic, driving force for the NEES Ambassador program. She led the Howard student group that represented NEES in the annual NEES/NSF education and outreach activities at the National Engineers Week Family Day and the USA Science Festival. Under Taylor’s leadership these events introduced more than 10,000 students and their families to NEES and to earthquake and tsunami mitigation concepts.

Winner 2: Cheng Song and Fahad Arshad, Purdue University

Purdue ECE PhD student Fahad Arshad has been safeguarding NEES cybersecurity since 2011, first in a supporting role and then from 2013, in a lead role. In this capacity, Fahad has kept the NEES cyberinfrastructure -- as well as all 14-laboratory site infrastructures -- free from any major cybersecurity incident.

Purdue engineering PhD candidate Cheng Song has worked in NEEShub tech support, where he has closed 900 trouble tickets, and has been instrumental in NEES project curation. Part researcher, part data management professional, Cheng has ensured that project curation documentation is accurate and understandable for the broad earthquake engineering community.

Outstanding IT Tool

This award recognizes NEES IT tools and resources that have had impact on research or practice.

Winner 1: PEN, the Project Explorer Tool for the NEEShub.

Recipients: Lily Dong and Ian Mathew from NEEScomm at Purdue University:

The PEN tool, a java-based application, is the primary tool for uploading data to the NEEShub. As a vital tool for curating project data, PEN had 372 users and was downloaded more than 1,000 times in 2013 alone.

Winner 2: UI-SimCor, a hybrid simulation framework

Recipients: Daniel Kuchma, Bill Spencer and Amr Elnashi from NEES at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

UI-SimCor is an open-source framework for pseudo-dynamic distributed hybrid simulation, which supports experiments that integrate physical specimens with numerical models. Written in MATLAB to have an easily customizable architecture, UI-SimCor has been used in many NEES projects, and it has been implemented and validated at multiple NEES experiment sites and many international research institutions.

Outstanding Project Curation

Recognizes NEES research projects that have done an outstanding job of curating the project data and uploading to the NEEShub.

Winner: Keri Ryan, University of Nevada, Reno, for TIPS – Tools to Facilitate Widespread Use of Isolation and Protective Systems, a NEES/E-Defense Collaboration

The meticulously documented data provided by the TIPS research team goes far beyond the minimum requirements, ensuring that the data will be readily reused by the engineering community. As one example, the data set from the E-Defense tests alone consists of 400 to 600 data channels and about 40 videos per experiment. A data paper from the project was published in Earthquake Spectra, and the data from these experiments is being enhanced so that bearing forces, bearing displacements, structural drifts, and structural accelerations can be plotted using inDEED.

Influential NEES projects

Honors NEES projects that have had significant impact on engineering practice, codes and specifications, or through data reuse, or through significant research impact as evidenced by follow-on work.

-- Structures category

Winner: “Development of a Seismic Design Methodology for Precast Floor Diaphragms.” Robert Fleischman, PI, University of Arizona. Co-PIs: Jose Restrepo, University of California; Richard Sause and Clay Naito, Lehigh University; S.K. Ghosh, SKA, Inc.

This project, referred to as “DSDM,” produced a seismic design methodology for precast floor diaphragms. Its recommendations for diaphragm design were first published as part of the 2009 NEHRP Recommended Provisions for Seismic Design for New Buildings, from the Building Seismic Safety Council. The DSDM task group currently is pursuing three avenues of codification into the International Building Code (IBC).

-- Lifelines category

Winner: NEESR Evaluation of Ground Rupture Effects on Critical Lifelines and NEESR-CR Earthquake Response & Rehabilitation of Critical Lifelines. Thomas O’Rourke, PI, Cornell University, Co-PIs: Michael O'Rourke, RPI; Harry Stewart, Cornell University; Michael Symans, RPI; Kathleen Krafft, Sciencenter; Amjad Aref, University at Buffalo; Andre Filiatrault, University at Buffalo; Sofia Tangalos, University at Buffalo

These two outstanding NEESR projects have substantially improved the safety and security of water supplies throughout the world. In New Zealand, the first project dramatically proved the resilience of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes. In the U.S., HDPE pipelines are now being used to protect water supplies crossing active faults in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The second project demonstrated the seismic resilience of ductile iron pipelines retrofitted with fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) linings. The trenchless, remotely installed FRP linings can efficiently and inexpensively protect our nation’s aging underground lifelines.

-- Tsunami category

Winner: Development of Performance-Based Tsunami Engineering. Ronald Riggs, PI, University of Hawaii, Co-PIs: Kwok Fai Cheung, University of Hawaii; Ian Robertson, University of Hawaii; Yin Lu (Julie) Young, Princeton University; Solomon Yim, Oregon State University

The first major study to examine the effect of tsunami waves on coastal infrastructure, this project developed a method for implementing site-specific Performance-Based Tsunami Engineering for at-risk buildings, bridges and harbor facilities. This methodology is having significant impact on building codes in tsunami-prone regions of the U.S., and a multi-year effort to incorporate recommendations from this study into a new chapter of the ASCE 7 is nearing completion.

-- Geotechnical category

Winner: Field Investigation of Shallow Ground Improvement Methods for Inhibiting Liquefaction Triggering; Christchurch, New Zealand. Kenneth Stokoe, PI, University of Texas at Austin; Co-PI: Brady Cox, University of Texas at Austin

In New Zealand’s liquefaction-prone regions, the NEES at University of Texas-based T-Rex large mobile shaker performed full-scale field test trials to determine the best ground-improvement techniques to inhibit liquefaction-triggering. The experiments validated the most efficient, cost-effective methods for preserving liquefaction-prone ground. This new knowledge, which is applicable in the U.S. and worldwide, is currently being used by the New Zealand government to rebuild the suburban infrastructure in Christchurch and the Canterbury region.

Writer: Marti LaChance