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.”
A new partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Science is scheduled to begin in fall 2013. The program, funded by a gift from alumnus Dan Ivanoff and his wife Laurie, supports the creation of a construction management track within the MBA program, opens the door for graduate construction engineering and management students to take associated business classes, and includes a faculty fellowship awarded to CEAE assistant professor Amy Javernick-Will.
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Sixteen members of the Architectural Engineering Institute student chapter made a difference in a family’s life by helping to build their new home in Lafayette. During the Habitat for Humanity work day on Oct. 6, the students worked on a drainage system outside the edge of the foundation and removed concrete forms from the foundation walls. Students worked with dedication and enthusiasm in spite of a cold and snowy weather, according to faculty advisor Sandra Vásconez.
With generous financial support from the dean of engineering, the CEAE department chair, and industry organizations such as JVA Consulting Engineers and RMH Group, AEI also was able to help with the purchase of some construction materials necessary to build the house that the students worked on. Thanks to the chapter’s officers – Mio Stanley, Ellen Becker, and Jon Schneck – who organized the effort.
Stanley had this to say about the event:
Earlier this semester, the Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) student chapter here at CU participated in a Team Build event with the Flatirons Habitat for Humanity. AEI members attended to help continue the foundation work on a multifamily residence in Lafayette. AEI made excellent progress that day, even exceeding the expectations of the project foreman and the Habitat for Humanity team leaders. We began the day by digging sump pits and laying gravel along the foot of the foundation wall. After lunch, we tackled removing the concrete formwork on the exterior side of the wall, which we quickly finished. Lastly, a group of us painted waterproofing on the outer foundation wall while the rest of us finished stripping the concrete forms on the interior. We even worked alongside some of the future residents of the home, who are also pictured in the photo.
Despite having to arrive at school at 7 a.m. on a cold, snowy Saturday morning and working until our muscles were sore, I think we can all agree it was worth it to help these families. We are also looking forward to the Family Welcome Event in December to formally meet the families and write well-wishes on the beams of the house. I would like to thank Flatirons Habitat for Humanity for giving AEI such an opportunity, the CEAE Department for their support, and to all of AEI’s members for making this event a great success! We hope to continue this event as an annual tradition, or even a semi-annual tradition. If you would like to join AEI and participate in future Habitat for Humanity Team Build events, don’t hesitate to stop by any AEI meeting or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students from the spring 2012 CVEN 4434/5434 Environmental Engineering Design class won the Water Environment Federation (WEF) 2012 Student Design Competition. The project “Broadmoor Park Properties Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade” won in the wastewater design category. The competition took place in October as part of WEF’s 85th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference in New Orleans, La.
The student competition promotes real world design experience for students interested in pursuing an education and/or career in water/wastewater engineering and sciences. It tasks individuals or teams of students within a WEF student chapter to prepare a design to help solve a local water quality issue. Teams evaluate alternatives, perform calculations, and recommend the most feasible solution based on experience, economics, and feasibility. The University of Colorado Boulder is a student chapter of the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Foundation.
Team members included Kristen Johansen, Maria Cabeza, Matthew Huntze, Bailey Leppek, Alexandra Murray, and faculty advisor Angela Bielefeldt. The team received certificates and a $2500 award.