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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil Engineers design, construct, and manage the physical and naturally built environment.   The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (previously as the Department of Civil Engineering) at CWRU is proud of being one of the four founding departments by the Case Institute of Technology (since 1880) and continues to deliver significant impacts on the Civil Engineering profession in the Nation and worldwide with its rigorous and pioneering academic programs.

Prof. Yue Li co-leads with Dr. Ji Yun Lee of Washington State University, on a study that aims to evaluate resident perception of wildfire risk.  The decisions of homeowners to protect themselves from wildfire risks are based on numerous factors, including the characteristics of houses and the homeowners themselves, but they affect the recovery of the entire community. This research, based on an online survey and field study of Sonoma County residents whose properties were damaged by the 2019 Kincade Fire, is a first step toward a longitudinal study aimed at understanding the proactive actions of homeowners in response to wildfire.  The work is funded by the Natural Hazards Center at Colorado State University (Details can be found at


CWRU students showed their steel trivia skills during the American Institute of Steel Construction’s (AISC) Live Student Steel Trivia Contest.  Structural Engineering Master’s Degree students, Patricia Cheng and Isabel McLeod, took part in a virtual trivia competition against Civil Engineering students nationwide. The event, held on February 27, 2020, is the first time that AISC has put students’ steel knowledge to the test in this type of friendly competition. The women came in third place, winning some steel “swag” which they will use with pride!

An article led by Ram Krishna Mazumder, a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 'Seismic functionality and resilience analysis of water distribution systems,’ is featured as the Editor’s Choice in the Journal of Pipeline Systems Engineering and Practice. Ram Krishna Mazumder co-authored the paper with his advisor Professor Yue Li, along with Professor Xiong (Bill) Yu, and Professor Abdullahi Salman, who is a faculty at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and was a research associate at Case Western.

Dr. YeongAe Heo, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and a 2017 Early-Career Research (ECR) Fellow of the Gulf Research Program (GRP), received a grant titled Cascading Effects of Rising Coastal Risks for Petrochemical Facilities on Socio-Economic-Ecological Vulnerability and Risk Perceptions.   It is a collaborative project with two other GRP ECR fellows having expertise in environmental chemistry, and human geography. This two-year project is to develop a pilot risk model to quantify the impact of potential oil and gas infrastructure failures on human and ecosystem health. This project integrates components representing Safer Offshore Energy Systems, Healthy Ecosystems, and Thriving Communities, respectively. The team aims to synthesize research fields that have been developed separately in parallel over the past years and lead to a paradigm shift in emergency plans, policies, and procedures for community resilience toward integrative risk mitigation approaches.

Representatives from the Department faculty, students, Alumni convened during the annual Alumni Breakfast at the 2019 Ohio Transportation Engineering Conference, between Oct 29-30 at Columbus, OH.    Ms. Kelly Hendricks, Director of Alumni Relation, introduced new initiatives by the Case Alumni Association to engage Alumni.  Dr. Bill Yu, Interim Chair, provided an overview update on the progresses at the Department, including various recent awards received by the Department faculty and students, new activities and organizations initialized by students under guidance by faculty.   Noteworthily, with the generous supports by alumni and friends, the Department will build a new Concrete Laboratory, which is projected to start construction in middle February 2020 and finish by early Summer 2020.

Full story can be found on the article in Observer, the Magazine by CWRU Students.  Students in Professor Katie P. Wheaton’s class, ECIV 160 Surveying and Computer Graphics, traded the classroom for the field when they surveyed at the University Farm this November. A request from the Case Amateur Radio club prompted the class to embark on two site visits. The purpose was to help the club find optimal locations to place antennas during their annual Field Day Competition, taking place next June.  After surveying tree and building locations as requested by the club, the students processed the measured data in AutoCAD and generated a report for their “client” with suggested antennae locations and cost estimates.

                        Dr. Christian Carloni and Professor Katie Wheaton, along with 6 undergraduate students from the Department, visited the Duke Energy Convention Center on October 18-21,2 019 for this year’s American Concrete Institute (ACI) Convention in Cincinnati, OH.   Dr. Carloni is currently Chair of the joint ACI-ASCE 446 Committee and attended ACI convention regularly, but this was Professor Wheaton and the students’ first appearance at a ACI Convention.

Prof. Xiong (Bill) Yu, Interim Chair, was recently informed by the journal editor's office that a paper by his research group has received the 10th Anniversary Excellent Paper Award by the journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering.   Three of Dr. Yu's former Ph.D. students were co-authors on this paper.  Quan Gao  is currently an engineer at Pile Dynamics Inc, a company founded by Case Alumni and is a world leading company in QA/QC for pile foundation.  Junliang Tao becomes an associate professor at Arizona State University, who received the prestigious CAREER award from  the National Science Foundation in 2018, one of the most prestigious recognition for junior faculty. Jianying Hu becomes an associate professor at Southeast University, Nanjing, China.

The Case chapter of Woman Builder's Council (WBC) had a very successful inaugural seminar series on Tuesday Oct 29, 2019.   23 people attended the seminar series, which included a live video conference with three woman leaders presented in NYC to Bingham 240, CWRU. 

Students were actively engaged with questions and answers with the presenters.  The Chapter is founded by two female students Sarah Carlson & Maria Tompkins, together with faculty advisor Katie P. Wheaton, P.E., S.E..  A brochure for the Case Chapter of WBC was distributed to attendees to formally launch the chapter.

Prof. Adel (Tony) Saada receied the Meritorious Service Award from the Case Alumni Association.  The award is in cognize Prof. Saada's leadership and service to the Case communities.  The award presentation was conducted during the upcoming homecoming weekend during 134th Annual All-Classes Celebration: Innovation ShowCASE and Awards Presentation,  Friday Oct 11, 2019 at Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box].   Department faculty, staff, students and alumni joined the event to celebrate Prof. Saada's achievements.