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Civil Engineering graduate student awarded two scholarships from international organizations

  • By COE Media
  • Dec 16, 2021

Peter Zelkowski, Ph.D. student at New Mexico State University, is one of the 18 students across the United States, and the only student in the southwest region, to be awarded a 2021 scholarship from the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) Educational Trust, the charitable arm of DFI.

The DFI Educational Trust At-Large Scholarships recognize students who are interested in or are pursuing a career in the deep foundations industry. DFI is an international association of contractors, engineers, suppliers, academics and owners in the deep foundations industry.

Earlier this year, Zelkowski was also awarded the 2021 International Association of Foundation Drilling (ADSC) Johnie Stephens Memorial Scholarship. The ADSC provides civil engineering graduate scholarships to well deserving students from universities in the U.S. and Canada. Zelkowski and the other scholarship recipients were invited to the 2021 ADSC Annual Meeting.

Zelkowski was also recognized with a 2021-2022 Outstanding Graduate Assistantship award for his contributions as a graduate assistant to the teaching and research mission of NMSU.

Zelkowski is working on his doctoral degree in the Department of Civil Engineering, advised by professor Paola Bandini. He also earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from NMSU.

He is the lead graduate research assistant in a multidisciplinary research project sponsored by the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics, a National Science Foundation-sponsored Engineering Research Center in which NMSU is a core university partner.

“Our project develops an innovative deep foundation system with bio-inspired features that enhance the friction resistance and pile capacity,” Zelkowski said. “The new foundation has the potential to be more cost-effective and sustainable than the conventional methods used in the practice to support loads from structures.”

In this project, Zelkowski leads the development and testing program of mid-scale instrumented prototypes of the bioinspired deep foundations.

Zelkowski served as the 2019 president of the center’s Student Leadership Council and lead graduate mentor for its summer research program participants at NMSU in 2019 and 2021. In addition to this role, he is also a member of the Civil Engineering Department’s Graduate Advisory Committee. Aside from his teaching and academic activities, he has worked in the civil and construction industry in four summer internships.