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Departmental News:

Xijin Zhang, a Ph.D. candidate advised by Dr. Xiong (Bill) Yu, has been selected as the recipient of the 2020-2021 Helene M. Overly Memorial Graduate Scholarship from the Northeast Ohio WTS Chapter.

The WTS Helene M. Overly Memorial Scholarship was established in 1981 by WTS International in memory of Helene for her dedicated service and a spirit to engage female transportation engineers. The scholarship is awarded to women pursuing career paths in transportation or a related field.

Xijin’s study is on the development of innovative bio-mediated civil engineering materials. More specifically on incorporating advanced microbial-based materials to improve sustainability and environmentally benign transportation infrastructure.



CWRU CEE students, Elizabth White and Brian Lin, are recipients of the 2021 American Society of Highway Engineer (ASHE) Lake Erie Section scholarship. The scholarship is selected among Northeast Ohio Civil Engineering students with an interest in Transportation Engineering.

Elizabeth, a Junior and third year Varsity soccer player, wrote to the committee about a CWRU seminar she took called “Transportation in American Life.” In her essay Elizabeth writes, “…I was most captivated by the Interstate Highway system…reading about the work gave me a newfound appreciation and love for the work of a a highway engineer…Engineers have to take into account the impact on communities and people…I appreciate the extra challenge…to make a positive impact on communities.”  (click to continue)

Zhuoying (Zoey) Jiang, a Ph.D. candidate advised by Prof. Xiong (Bill) Yu, has been named as a recipient of two awards for academic achievements.  These include the 2020 Waheed Uddin Outstanding Graduate Student Award from USDOT National University Transportation Center (TriDurLE) and the 2021 IACIP Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals.  

Zoey has an interdisciplinary training in Civil, Materials, and Physics.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Materials Physics at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China and MS degree in Materials Science and Engineering at CWRU. Her Ph.D. dissertation studied the new design of photocatalytic materials to radically improve the efficiency in air contaminant removal through experimental, physical-based finite element analysis, and data-based machine learning model. 


Jan 2021

Dr. Frank Rausche, Department Alumni and long term supporter, has been honored with the 
Pile Driving Contractor Association (PDCA) E.A.L. Smith Award Lectureship.   The E.A.L. Smith Award Lecture is presented triennially during each International Foundations Conference & Equipment Expo (IFCEE) and is given to an individual who has demonstrated creative and original work that helps the driven pile industry provide an economical, sustainable, effective and environmentally conscious foundation solution.   According to the selection Committee, Dr. Rausche has “provided the engineer with a tool that helped design driven piles not only for geotechnical or structural suitability, but also for driveability and, therefore, constructability.”

Dr. Xiong (Bill) Yu has been appointed as the inaugural Opal J. and Richard A. Vanderhoof professor.  Dr. Yu conducts interdisciplinary research in geosystem, civil infrastructure, energy, and environment.   He is the PI of over 40 research projects funded by federal, state agencies and private industry, including 14 competitively selected projects from NSF.  He is a recipient of a NSF CAREER award in 2009.  Dr. Yu has published over 300 papers, including over 120 journals papers and other referred conference proceedings.  A number of these papers received awards and recognitions.  Dr. Yu is committed to exellence in student mentorship with large number of students successfully launched faculty positions, including 2 former student who have received the prestigious NSF CAREER awards.  Dr. Yu teaches in the areas of geotechnical engineering, pavement design, sensor and field instrumentation, and intelligent infrastructure sytem, etc.   

RePicture is a virtual community that promotes education and networking among people involved in engineering. The mission of RePicture is to promote the important work done by engineers, empower students to envision themselves as engineers, encourage diversity in the field, and foster career opportunities. (click the news title for more)   (Nov 20, 2020)

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has designated the Main Avenue Viaduct in Cleveland as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. This honor has been bestowed on fewer than 230 projects completed throughout U.S. history.  The viaduct is the northernmost high-level crossing of the Cuyahoga River and is over a mile in length. It was financed through Cuyahoga County bonds and a grant from the Works Progress Administration. Dedicated on October 6, 1939, the viaduct was designed by the Office of the Cuyahoga County Engineer. Fred L. Plummer was the Chief Design Engineer, assisted by over thirty engineers dedicated to the project. Plummer orchestrated an engineering design theme of structural continuity for increased efficiency and improved aesthetics. Some of the viaduct's notable features include the lakeside ramp plate girders over the railroad tracks, the ten spans of continuous cantilever trusses, and the West 28th Street overpasses.  The plate girders were the longest built in the U.S.

Prof. Yue Li, the Leonard Jr. Case Professor, has been named as a Section Editor of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Structural Engineering, beginning October 1st, 2020. The Journal of Structural Engineering is one of the oldest (found in 1852) and most respected professional journals in its field. As a premier journal in the structural engineering field, it has published some of the most influential papers during its approximately 150-year history. Prof. Li shares the responsibility of running the journal with the chief editor and other three Section Editors. The editorial board also includes 70 associate editors. As a Section editor, Prof. Li handles papers related to Structural Safety and Reliability, Structural Optimization, Wind Effects, Wood Structures, and Fire Effects. He has published widely in this premier journal and has been serving as an Associate editor since 2011.

In 2019, approximately 90% of Civil and Environmental Engineering students participated in summer internships and co-ops. Due to the pandemic, many of these summer opportunities were delayed or cancelled. At the same time, the department’s annual study abroad summer course trip to Tianjin University in China, that is supported in part by the Case Alumni Foundation (CAF), was no longer feasible. Because of this unique set of circumstances, the CAF was able to reallocate $15,000 in undesignated scholarship funds to support 10 students over the summer, allowing them to spend eight weeks working on an assigned research project with a faculty advisor. With this funding, the students were able to complete research on topics focused on the topics of structure, geotech/infrastructure and the environment.

The Case Alumni Foundation is committed to providing access to experiential learning for students at CWRU. 

Student researchers and faculty advisors include:

Congratulations on Prof. Huichun (Judy) Zhang on being appointed as the Frank H. Neff endowed professorship!  Dr. Huichun (Judy) Zhang earned her Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology and her B.S. and M.S. from Nanjing University in China. Her research focuses on the fate and transformation of environmental contaminants in natural and engineered aquatic environments and the removal of organic contaminants from contaminated water. Dr. Zhang has published in numerous journals, including Environmental Science and Technology, Water Research, Applied Catalysis B, Journal of Hazardous Materials, Environmental International, Chemical Engineering Journal, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, Langmuir, Chemosphere, and Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. She has received five competitive research grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation as the sole/lead PI and one competitive research grant from the U. S.