The Pan American Academy of Engineering recently inducted Keith Molenaar, department chair and professor of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, based on his engineering contributions to Pan American markets.
Molenaar, who has completed extensive international work as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ International Activities Committee, has committed much of his career towards education, research and service in Central and South America. He has worked on cost and schedule risk analysis for the Panama Canal Expansion project, applied design-build project delivery and lean production methods to building projects in Chile through a Fulbright fellowship, and conducted a service project with students from the University of Colorado to supply water to a rural community in Paposa, Chile through a fog collection system.
As part of the ASCE International Activities Committee, Molenaar has focused on improving the mobility of engineering education in Pan America. With improved education mobility, Pan American engineers can broaden their experiences by working across international lines and better support today’s global economy.
“My research and service activities have helped me to understand the need for a high level of engineering education throughout the Americas,” Molenaar says. “Having the recognition of the Academy will allow me to have more impact on the development of policy and influence of governmental actions around engineering and improving the quality of life for developing communities. I see this as a door to be able to better serve the developing communities and the United States. These activities can help us work with new students from abroad and give us a chance to make a stronger impact on what civil engineers do, which is serve society and improve the quality of life.”
The Pan American Academy of Engineering, which helps improve the development of countries in North and South America, chooses to induct members based on their ethical, academic and professional values as well as their contributions toward engineering’s progression in Pan America.
After recently receiving the Faculty Early Career Development Program Award from the National Science Foundation, Matthew R. Hallowell, assistant professor of construction engineering and management, plans to offer his students a more engaging, valuable academic experience. With the NSF CAREER Award, Hallowell is conducting a large research project in which students will also have the chance to participate.
Hallowell’s groundbreaking research, “Predictive Modeling of Construction Injuries in Complex Environments,” examines how injury prevention can be improved at construction sites. Rather than quantifying individual risks, this research looks to complete a content analysis on previous injury reports to identify fundamental attributes that could contribute to injuries. From there, Hallowell is using multivariate statistics to forecast the probability of specific injuries.
As part of the educational experience, Hallowell plans to teach students how to incorporate these models within an augmented reality system. Most universities teach construction safety based on OSHA standards, but this is often not enough to prevent injuries. While OSHA standards must be followed, even OSHA-compliant companies are experiencing injuries and fatalities. By students working with this augmented reality system, they will be better prepared to respond to the dynamics and complexities of construction environments once they begin their careers.
“Instead of having a checkbox or list of rules that must be followed, students learn how to be more proactive and redesign a worksite,” Hallowell says. “For example, you can get to the site and find an exposed edge, or you can design the facility so that it never had an exposed edge in the first place.”
With this educational approach, students can expect to receive a more valuable learning experience, Hallowell says. Students are not spending their time listening to lectures. Instead, they are using classroom time to experience this innovative research firsthand.
“It’s not lecture based by any means,” Hallowell says. “It’s more experiential learning, and it’s certainly more engaging. This will encourage active learning instead of passive learning, so the students don’t just sit and listen. They do and talk.”
Professor John McCartney has been selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geo-Institute Board of Governors to receive the 2013 Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award.
This prestigious award recognizes outstanding accomplishments as evidenced by completed works, reports, or papers in the field of geotechnical engineering. The award was established to provide professional development opportunities for outstanding young practitioners, researchers, and teachers of geotechnical engineering.
The award will be presented in February at the Geo-Congress 2013 Conference in San Diego.
Professor Matthew Hallowell was recently awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program award from the National Science Foundation for ”Predictive Modeling of Construction Injuries in Complex Environments.” The research objective is to test the hypothesis that over half of the variability in construction injury statistics can be explained by a few inherent and basic attributes of construction environments. If successful, the research results will enhance understanding of the fundamental causes of construction injuries and allow for accurate risk forecasts, directly addressing a critical societal concern that affects approximately six percent of the US workforce. The project places strong emphasis on teaching integration using virtual reality and outreach to the Hispanic community.
CEAE professor Mark Hernandez has been selected to receive the 2012 HENAAC Education Award recognizing the best and brightest engineers and scientists within the Hispanic community. The award will be presented in October at the 24th annual HENAAC Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.