NMSU Civil Engineering students soar in virtual Research and Creativity Week presentations

Date: 12/18/2020
Contact:  Dr. Paola Bandini, paola@nmsu.edu and Dr. Douglas Cortes, dcortes@nmsu.edu

Lucas Rivera (Courtesy photo)

Students from the Department of Civil Engineering at New Mexico State University received numerous awards at this year’s virtual Research and Creativity Week. A total of eight civil engineering students presented their projects with four placing in the top 10 of all presentations.

The student, their presentation, faculty advisor(s) and placement are as follows:

S. Ali Aleali, Bio-inspired Laterally Expressive Deep Foundations: Numerical Simulation, advised by Dr. Paola Bandini and Dr. Craig Newtson, second place.

Lucas Rivera, Design and Calibration of a Portable Rainfall Simulator for Soil Erosion Testing, advised by Dr. Paola Bandini, third place.

Saeedeh Naziri, Bio-inspired Self-Excavating Solutions for Extraterrestrial Subsurface Exploration, advised by Dr. Douglas Cortes, fourth place.

Judit Garcia, Effect of Bio-Enhancements on Adobe Walls: Fiber Reinforcement and Biopolymer, advised by Dr. Brad Weldon and Dr. Paola Bandini, ninth place.

S. Aleali Aleali (Courtesy Photo)

Dr. Paola Bandini, Wells-Hatch Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, is one of the top advisors in the College of Engineering assisting with three student projects in the top 10 presentations. Bandini said the four civil engineering students who made the top 10 presentations are funded by the National Science Foundation.

“These four students are researchers of NSF-funded Engineering Research Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG), of which NMSU is a core partner since 2015,” Bandini said. “Each year, CBBG supports 10 graduate students and 8 undergraduates at NMSU in multidisciplinary projects that develop nature-inspired technologies for sustainable geotechnical infrastructure.”

Dr. Douglas Cortes, Civil Engineering Associate Professor and CBBG senior investigator, also served as a student mentor.

“This year has been particularly detrimental to the academic community because the outlets we typically use to share our research have been either canceled or postponed,” Cortes said. “The NMSU Research and Creativity Week came at the right time to give our students a chance to share their hard work.”

Although COVID-19 restrictions in the state moved this year’s event online, students expressed gratitude for the opportunity to showcase their hard work.

Judit Garcia Courtesy Photo)

“I am very thankful for this experience, getting to work for CBBG and being able to present my research,” said Judit Garcia, CE master’s student and CBBG graduate research assistant. “I have never been good a public speaking and being able to present my research to others has helped improved these skills.”

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research in a CBBG project,” said Lucas Rivera, CE senior, New Mexico AMP Undergraduate Research Scholar and CBBG undergraduate researcher. “I attribute my desire to further my education and pursue a master’s degree to the support from my mentors and my CBBG research work experience during my undergraduate program in civil engineering.”

Rivera is also the Outstanding Departmental Senior for Civil Engineering, as well as the Outstanding Senior for the College of Engineering.

Aside from mentoring several students, Bandini and Cortes also served as judges for other presentations during Research and Creativity week.

“Serving as a judge during Research and Creativity Week was a very rewarding experience,” Cortes said. “I was very impressed with the breadth and quality of the work of the students I was assigned to judge.”

David V. Jáuregui, Department Head of Civil Engineering, recognized efforts by students and faculty from the department as well as leadership from the NMSU Office of Vice President for Research and Graduate School.

“I commend the outstanding performance of the civil engineering graduate students at the RCW event and also the encouragement and guidance provided by their faculty advisors in geotechnical and structural engineering,” Jáuregui said. “I also thank the organizing committee and office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate School for providing a great venue for our students and faculty to continue to disseminate their research during these challenging times.”

“I strongly encourage our students to participate in events like the RCW” Bandini said. “Sharing their findings with faculty and peers helps students develop presentation and analytical skills.”

The College of Engineering had a total of 42 student presentations. All presentations including the ones from faculty can be found by going to https://nmsurcw2020.kontainer.com/ and entering the log in credentials displayed on the page.

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